"Hi, Tick! I'm your mind! Sorry we don't talk much, but I'm easily distracted by shiny objects."
—The Tick's Mind, The Tick (animation)
In media, the symptoms of attention deficit disorders tend to be exaggerated to the point of absurdity. Sufferers seem to be on a constant caffeine high. They are unable to maintain focus on anything for more than a few minutes before getting distracted by a shiny object, hence the trope title.
See also Hollywood Psych, The Schizophrenia Conspiracy, and L Is for Dyslexia. Contrast Cloudcuckoolander, who doesn't have a disorder (or at least isn't required to), but acts similarly. This exaggeration is frequently seen in Genki Girls and Keets.
This trope is not to be confused with-- oh, wow! Look at all the examples!
- Sakura, an Ill Girl from Betterman. Her ADHD is only referred to once, but it's a severe case, and she receives heavy, heavy medication for it. Also, while she can be considered a Cloudcuckoolander, she's a thoroughly creepy and tragic Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant.
- All of Yes! Pretty Cure 5—the entire series, as well as its Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo—happens because Nozomi gets distracted one morning before school and chases a passing butterfly. In a later episode, she displayed more realistic ADHD symptoms. ADHD was never explicitly mentioned, but much like Cosmo, the intention was clear.
- Rightly or wrongly, Azumanga Daioh is sometimes used to illustrate the difference between ADHD (Tomo, Genki Girl Jerkass extraordinaire) and ADD (Osaka, Cloudcuckoolander extraordinaire).
- Yotsuba Koiwai, from the same author, being the cheerful hyperactive Cloudcuckoolander she is, also has her moments.
Fuuka: (After explaining to Yotsuba about how everyone has two sets of grandparents) Understand?
- Shinobu of Ninin ga Shinobuden has a great one of these in the first episode.
Shinobu: I passed the exam! Your panties gave me a high mark!
- Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple: "Renka has a habit of chasing moving objects!"
- Hinako Ninomiya of Ranma ½ is both hyperactive and easily distracted, especially in child form. This certainly doesn't help in her job as English teacher, the students frequently taking advantage of her distractions. She's more focused as an adult, but if she stays too long this way she starts reverting to her childish behavior.
- Hell Teacher Nube: "Tremble before Baki, the Supreme Oni sealed in Nube's left hand that has been loosed upon the human world! With but a wave of his hand, this gigantic, blood-red demon will incinerate the city and there is no-one with the power to stop h-- OH MY GOD did that man just cut a can with a Ginsu knife? How did he do that? Whee, the kiddy train at the park looks fun, I wanna ride it! One, two, one, two! Aerobics is fun! Wh-what is this... slinky? Can I eat it? Look, Minki! The man with the animal balloons made me a giraffe, yay!" Then again, if Minki is hurt in any way, Baki will become fiercely focused and absolutely nothing will distract him from annihilating the offender.
- Yui in K-On! has already been accused of this. Interestingly, she also shows signs of Hyperfocus. Specifically, she spends all her focus on learning the guitar, ignoring her studies and failing a test. Causing her to exclusively focus on her studies, acing the re-take test, but forgetting most of what she learned on the guitar. Which is really possible, people with ADHD can focus absurdly well when they feel like it, foregoing all other brain processes in the mean time.
- Yu Touma from Q.E.D., which, in a rare case, is not played for laughs.
- The main children in Hanamaru Kindergarten see their attempts to follow Tsuchi during his day off hampered by their kindergartener attention spans. After the trio is distracted by a toy machine, a cat, and a panda-cat poster, Hiiragi decides that perhaps kindergarteners shouldn't be detectives.
- The World God Only Knows: "Fire trucks!!"[context?]
- Hotaru from Samurai Deeper Kyo has a fairly realistic display of ADD, but it's played for laughs in the way that the people around him react to him. He comes off as a mix between Cloudcuckoolander and Obfuscating Stupidity.
- The Idolm@ster. Hibiki stops in the middle of her swimming race with Makoto to catch a fish.
- DC Comics has Larfleeze, a.k.a. Agent Orange. His greed makes him distracted by almost anything, making his scenes hilarious. In fact, he says that shiny things are his weakness.
- Marvel Comics' Deadpool has complete ADD, along with a very unique form of insanity.
- Johnny the Homicidal Maniac seems to have ADD trouble. On a positive note, it makes it hard for him to commit suicide because he tends to lose focus on it halfway though. It got downplayed as the series got Cerebus Syndrome, though.
- Bart Allen, the aptly codenamed Impulse. Until he got kneecapped, read an entire library in under two hours, and took up the Kid Flash mantle. So, apparently the cure for ADHD is kneecapping.
- Bean the Dynamite from the Sonic the Hedgehog comics, occasionally. In his first appearance, Fiona distracts him by throwing some shiny keys away. Later, Sally does almost exactly the same thing with one of his own bombs.
- Momoko from Wedding Peach Abridged.
Momoko: It must be hard on Yosuke [to clean the Olympic length pools all by himself]. (pause) Hey, this ring gets so shiny when you move it around!
- "Ooh, a DUCK!"
- Councilmen Raynold(or is it Reynold?)'s only defining characteristic in Soulless Shell.
- Due: "OOOH! My pen!"
- Yet again, with a little extra help: "Ice Cream People!!"
- Ryuk in the original Death Note Abridged by TioH and Dargonakis.
- Brutally parodied in Sonic F:
Chris: Cream! Aren't you still mad about--
- All of the dogs in the Pixar film Up seem to have thi--SQUIRREL!!... ... ...s problem. And a new meme is born. Note that this may not be an accurate representation of human ADHD, but it's a much more accurate representation of dog psychology. If there's even a suspicion, a dog will do exactly what it does in the movie, minus speaking—jerk its head away and stare waiting to see its target. If it spots it, it wi-- SQUIRREL! ...will typically bark or growl uncontrollably.
- Hammy in Over the Hedge behaves in a spastic, hypercaffienated manner and exhibits Hollywood's definition of ADD. A plot point relies on giving caffeine to th--
- Dory from Finding Nemo fits the bill, though her "disorder" is rather attributed to a condition of "short term memory loss". As she can only remember a relatively short span of time clearly, it's easy for her to forget what she was originally doing and thus is likely to switch to a new topic. It runs in her family... she thinks. This is actually a disorder known as Anterograde Memory Dysfunction, or AMD. This is the same mental condition shown in the Christopher Nolan movie Memento.
- In Monsters vs. Aliens, both Insectosaurus and B.O.B. are like this. The former because he has the personality of a dog. The latter because he has no brain (turns out you don't need one). Both of them were distracted during the fight with a giant alien robot.
- The "What's This" sequence in The Nightmare Before Christmas is the (probably) unintentional embodiment of this trope. Jack even ends up running into a pole. This, naturally, leads some fans to speculate that Jack has ADD. This is most likely not the case: Jack had been doing the same thing, in the same place, in the same way for an untold number of years. This was the first time he had seen anything like this; he's not distracted by "the shiny" as much as he's trying to take it all in at once while being very (musically) enthusiastic about it.
- The movie Charlie Bartlett had a scene involving the title character taking too much Ritalin. It was depicted as causing him to run around, singing in his underpants. A more realistic depiction of an overdose would show the character having an anxiety attack while trying to read three books at once.
- Matt Stone's character in Baseketball seems to suffer from this—as Ted Denslow (Ernest Borgnine) is explaining his idea for taking the sport pro to Stone and Trey Parker, Stone is distracted by a bird sitting on a branch.
- The main character's younger sister in the film Pecker is diagnosed with ADHD, when in reality she just consumes way, way, way too much sugar. After being prescribed Ritalin, she acts quite zombie-ish, culminating with her nearly choking on a pill after she refuses to wash it down with a soda. By the end of the film, she's off both the sugar and the meds.
- Greebo from Discworld tends to keep his cat personality even when human, which leads to a somewhat ADD-esque behaviour pattern.
- Averted in Percy Jackson & the Olympians, where all the halfbloods are ADHD and dyslexic, but since the author's own son has both, it's pretty accurate.
- In The League of Peoples Verse, the entire Cashling species suffer from this: always bored, easily distracted, and unable to focus their attention on anything for very long.
- Helen Burns from Jane Eyre probably had inattentive type ADD. The list of personal flaws Helen confesses to Jane all match the diagnostic criteria: "I am... slatternly; I seldom put, and never keep, things in order; I am careless; I forget rules; I read when I should learn my lessons; I have no method; and sometimes I say... I cannon bear to be subjected to systematic arrangements." She goes on to describe how, although she does very well in classes that catch her interest, her thoughts "continually rove away" during uninteresting lessons.
- In the somewhat farcical Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Darksaber this trope becomes a crucial "plot point", as the Hutts' titular superweapon is let down by the Tauril workers who constructed it, who as a race seem to have this trope as their Hat.
- Mr. Smith, father of P. G. Wodehouse's Psmith.
- Bonanza: One of the early episodes, "The Ape," dealt with a lonely man who had a form of autism, but had dreams of becoming a farmer and a land owner. Two things stood in his way: His short temper, which he could neither understand nor control (and when he became angry, he became extremely violent). The other fits this trope: His fascination with a beautiful saloon girl named Shari, a seductress who soon realizes she can manipulate Arnie into buying her expensive things such as drinks and jewelry. Hoss - knowing Shari's true character as a mean, manipulative person—spends much of the episode trying to focus Arnie's attention away from Shari and onto working on his farm, but everytime Hoss leaves him alone, Arnie goes to the saloon to be with Shari and try (in vain) to woo her into his life; Shari plays along, but along with some of the other regulars at the bar, snicker at him and make cruel jokes about him. Eventually, Arnie realizes that Shari thinks nothing more of him than the ape with a pea-sized brain, and he kills her. Arnie is eventually hunted down and shot by a posse.
- In the '80s, Saturday Night Live had a series of "Mr. Short-Term Memory" skits starring Tom Hanks.
- A gag from a Taxi episode combines this with Why Didn't You Just Say So?: Louie is sued by an old lady for hitting her with his cab. Learning that she's a notorious scam artist, he welcomes taking her on in court. Just before the civil hearing, Reverend Jim discovers that this time Louie ironically did injure her for real, and tries to warn Louie:
Louie: Ignatowski, get the hell outta here.
- In That's My Bush!, Princess seems to suffer from this:
"This is the way we lock the door, lock the door, lock the door. This is the way we lock the door -- Oh, what a pretty bell."
- Tracy Jordan of Thirty Rock almost refers to this trope by name; his exact words were "... I have Attention Deficit Disor-- Jack your shoes are shiny."
- How I Met Your Mother: Barney, in the episode "Robin 101", says he has "AD... something. Can we have class outside?" It's played up in this episode for the joke, but actually a lot of his behaviour over the series is consistent with somebody who has ADHD: a tendency to space out when people are talking to him; an endless amount of energy and enthusiasm; being very impulsive; constantly talking and saying what's on his mind even if it isn't appropriate; the tendency to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions; and the ability to "hyperfocus", i.e. hone in and concentrate on one thing, blocking everything else out (e.g. spending three days searching for Robin's video in "Sandcastles in the Sand"; his fixation on Robin and Ted's story in "Something Blue"). He also has a high intelligence level, e.g. the ability to speak multiple languages and memorise the exact price of everything when he's on "The Price is Right". Wow, long entry.
- Cat on Victorious is this to a T. Especially if you have candy to help distract her with.
Tim: Tyres has got a really short attention span; I remember once we were -- oh look, wrestling!
- Francis is shown developing a serious case of ADD in an early episode of Malcolm in the Middle: even after his roommate has stripped the room of every possible form of entertainment, Francis still can't focus on his homework, to the point that upon seeing a cockroache on his desk, he prefers to build a labyrinth for it to play with.
- Shawn Spencer on Psych seems to have adult ADD. In order to deal with this in childhood, his father taught him how to combine his short, quick observations with his eidetic memory. Instead of being completely unfocused, Shawn can now be incredibly focused but only in short flashes.
- Doctor Who. The Doctor, especially Ten and Eleven, though Four had hints of it. Sure, he can focus when it's needed, like when the universe itself is threatened, but most of the time he has the attention span of a squirrel.
- The Colbert Report. On more than one occasion, Stephen has begun to speak about something serious, only to be distracted by a feathery cat toy hanging from the ceiling, which he bats and swings at like a kitten. While still very much in character, it's probably meant as an allusion to how real news programs will cut short or tagent off more serious or important stories with more fluff/opinion/ated pieces that don't require an unbiased view.
- Valeria Ferrer from Carrusel was very energetic and cheerful, but had serious difficulties staying focused and at the beginning she didn't exactly fit in the class due to how loud and fast-speaking she was. In a What an Idiot! moment, her teacher Ximena tried to tone her attitude down via putting on a Jerkass Facade and treating her harshly; Valeria, however, got so depressed that she actually got sick.
- Growing Pains: It has often been speculated that one reason behind Mike's (Kirk Cameron) poor academic performance is ADD. Episodes have seen him buy a "magic rock" (from a school scam artist) to help him with an extemparaneous essay, stay home from school to catch up on Gilligans Island and doesn't take seriously an IQ test. His possible problems are particularly spelled out in the late 1987 episode "Nasty Habits," where Mike's bad habits, constant distraction and inability to concentrate for a few minutes have put him in danger of possibly not graduating from high school on time. Here, he struggles to start an English essay that, after putting it off, is due the next day. At one point, he envisions dancing with pretty girl he met at the pizza parlor (with the Tiffany song "Could've Been" used to frame the scene) ... before he finally is able to clear his mind and write a coherent paper.
- Drake from Drake and Josh. He gets distracted so easily. One time Josh was pouring his heart out to Drake who was listening, only to walk away when a beautiful girl walked by. Also when Josh was taken away to be submerged in a chemical bath, Drake looks like he's about to do something, only to see someone left mashed potatoes on the floor.
- While not a commentary on ADHD, there was a strip from The Far Side showing a group of warriors storming a castle, running across the moat bridge while one guy points to the water and exclaims "Ooh, goldfish, everyone, goldfish!" Gary Larson stated that he's fond of that one because "that's me on the bridge."
- In a series of early Peanuts strips, Lucy is shown to be a golf prodigy. Charlie Brown notes: "You're going to make a great golfer [...] if only you didn't lose interest so fast..." as she sits down in the sand to make a sand castle.
- A Frazz comic calls this "A.D.H.L.A.S." or "Attention-Defi-Hey-Look-A-Squirrel".
- And Who The Hell left Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes off this list?!
- Sesame Street
- Many viewers feel that they may have introduced Elmo to set up a commentary on ADD or ADHD. It never happened, but he sure is easily... ooh, shiny! Or, if you want a simpler explanation... He's supposed to be THREE YEARS OLD.
- Speaking of Sesame Street, another Muppet character Forgetful Jones is a living embodiment of this trope. Or he may just have Alzheimers....
- Referenced in a Bill Engvall sketch about parent-teacher conferences. The teacher asks if there's a history of ADD in the family, and Bill says "Yes, we add, subtract, multiply... why are you spelling it?" His wife then says, "M-O-R-O-N. She means attention deficit disorder." And by that point, Bill is looking out the window at birds.
- The Kender race in the Dragonlance setting of Dungeons & Dragons embodies this trope. They even have a racial ability to "Detect Shiny".
- The Batwinged Bimbo From Hell class in Macho Women with Guns (both being Exactly What It Says on the Tin, by the way) has access to the skill "distort reality"; by shifting their attention completely to something like their nail polish, a run in their stockings, or a shiny object, they can avert any attack by not paying any attention to it at all. If the skill roll succeeds, the attack instead targets another player.
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle
- There is a running joke among players that creatures with the Stupidity rule (which means there is a chance the unit will do nothing other than wander forward a few inches for a turn) suffer from this, in particular Dark Elf Cold Ones (dinosaur horse thingies) thinking "kill kill kill kill, ooooh shiny".
- This is actually accurate in the case of Sigvald the Magnificent, who at random times during the battle will actually become so distracted by how awesome and shiny his armour is that he will stop fighting and demand his henchmen to polish it and tell him how wonderful he is.
- Corax in Werewolf: The Apocalypse have this as one of their racial flaws. There other flaw being allergic to gold, this doesn't usually work out to well for them.
- Goblins of Pathfinder have this, to the point where nothing can hold their attention for more than a few seconds. This ADOS even shows up in the middle of combat, when a goblin may waste a turn to do something completely stupid.
- The Izzet guild from Magic: The Gathering's Ravnica block combine this, Absent-Minded Professor and Cloudcuckoolander. One flavour article is even titled "A Close Look at the Izze-hey, look at that!" Also Squee, the goblin deck hand.
- This card on the World of Warcraft trading card game.
- Sonic the Hedgehog arguably has issues with staying still for extended periods of time, though whether he fits this Trope depends entirely on which continuity you're watching/playing/reading, and occasionally, which episode of which continuity. Sonic spends a lot of the time he isn't running around in Sonic X lying on rooftops and snoozing, yet goes utterly insane when cooped up on a ship for ten days and nights. This may be because he's somewhat aquaphobic and can't swim. This is sometimes chalked up to his speedster nature, a fairly common trope (see: Impulse).
- In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, Link can manage to defeat Ganondorf by waving a fishing pole around to distract him while taking potshots at him. See it in action in Let's Play form here.
- In EarthBound, an otherwise indestructible Master Belch can be defeated if you use Fly Honey to distract him; he'll waste turns guzzling that mess down, leaving himself vulnerable to attack.
- Melissa from Knights in The Nightmare is often characterized as having a mild case of ADHD. Unlike many other examples, she actually displays hyperfocus—Ancardia is all she can really be bothered to concentrate on, and she's otherwise fairly easily distracted. The more commonly attributed characteristics of the disorder get Flanderized by the fandom.
- EverQuest II gives us the collection quest items, often nicknamed "shinies" by the players for two reasons. The first is that, well, they glow—they're small, glowing points on the ground with a question mark on top. The second is that you can expect many people to instantly take a leave of their senses and drop whatever it is they were doing (such as traveling, trying to avoid dangerous mobs, healing their group or trying not to aggro everything in sight) in order to dig them up. Even more so in groups, where there's a competitive aspect to it—first person to activate the shiny gets it, and the rare ones sell for a mint. A shiny popping up in the middle of a difficult fight can quite easily spell "wipe".
- The basis for a joke in Dragon Age where the programmers fall victim to this trope. It unfolds as follows in the description of a Glamour Charm:
This minor magical charm captures the viewer's attention and distra... ooo, pretty...
- One of the "silly" jokes a male orc can say in World of Warcraft:
"I will CRUSH and DESTROY and... ooo... shiny..."
- A Dryad named Mylune will actually get distracted by a butterfly halfway through her quest-ending text.
- In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, your rival shows this at least once. He comes barging into your room, then after a few seconds notes you have a new laptop.
- Kingdom of Loathing has an Attention Deficit Demon as a potential familiar (though as a rare one by now, since it was available for a limited time).
[Your Demon] bounces around, helping you pick stuff up. "Did you know that chili peppers aren't actually peppers? And a coconut isn't a nut, either! Hey, remember that one monster you fought? He was crazy. Do you like music?"
- Taokaka from BlazBlue has a three-second or three-step attention span/memory combo. Of course, Hilarity Ensues.
- The Arakun race in the text-based Retro Mud game are famous for being like this. They also have a racial emote called "ashiny". Players tend to ham it up for all it's worth.
- The Curiosity Core in Portal.
- Dwarves in Dwarf Fortress, all too often. It isn't uncommon for a dwarf to Urist McTroper cancels post: Pick Up Equipment. Dwarves will cancel a task to pull a lever to activate a critical series or traps or other defensive mechanisms to go get a drink or take a nap. Military dwarves will, on some occasions, literally stop fighting an invading horde of monsters because they're sleepy or hungry.
- A Caitian Duty Officer in Star Trek Online has Flavor Text implying that he has a certain amount of this.
"My time in the Collective honed me. I am more focused on ... hey, that light is blinking!"
- Chicken of Chicken and Moose has this, seemingly paired with hallucinations. He gets distracted by a "rainbow," which is actually an oil slick.
- In many furry comics, characters that are raccoons or ferrets tend to be easily distracted, especially by shiny objects.
- Fluffy from Commander Kitty is a small pink female cat. She likes to push shiny red buttons, and rarely if ever knows what's happening around her. She has a 50% chance of either causing complete catastrophe or miraculously saving the day.
- Kiki from Sluggy Freelance embodies this trope. But as she's a ferret experimented on by a Mad Scientist who can literally go ballistic after a pixie stick, it's probably not surprising.
- Pixies in the webcomic Chasing the Sunset have the attention span of a moth, probably as a counter for their omnipotence. A pixie can do anything she believes she can, but it vanishes as soon as her attention goes elsewhere. Naturally, all pixies love "shinies".
- Larxene from Ansem Retort fits this trope, big time. The fact that she's also addicted to crack, PCP, crystal meth, and nearly every other illegal drug in existence makes it worse.
- Scarlet, the squirrel from the webcomic Sequential Art is an example of this. Part of what affects her is that, she used to be hooked up to a giant supercomputer (along with three others) where their savant-like intelligence was used to crunch numbers. Coming from a world where things really are instantaneous, the real world would come off as a big distraction to her. Also might have something to do with the accident that ended up getting her out of the corporation where she was being kept involved lots of really intense heat. Which damages computer chips.
- The Girl, from A Girl and Her Fed, is confirmed attention-deficit.
- The MS Paint Adventures series Problem Sleuth treats this as a useful skill for one character: Pickle Inspector dodges attacks by getting distracted by something else and randomly stepping out of harm's way.
- The Salamanders from the Land of Wind and Shade.
"Look at this! Another Cherished Idol profaned! Such sacrilege has become commonplace with the recent glut of the Underlings. It would bring a tear to my eye if I were not so clearly fit to be tied with these hyperactive mannerisms and severe attention deficit oh my god look a bug."
- Clubs Deuce from the Midnight Crew cannot possibly hope to remember more than one thing at a time, and gets easily distracted by clocks.
- "You were very foolish to believe you could be a leader of men. Look at what bearing that flag has wrought. Perhaps one day you will find something new to bear. A burden befitting of the peasant you truly are. Oh my what's that shiny thing in the water?"
- Unity of Skin Horse, which is sort of a large drawback for someone who was intended to be a Super Soldier.
- Fighter from Eight Bit Theater, so very much so. Invoked nearly word-for-word in this strip.
- Eddie from Emergency Exit.
Bob: (pointing) LOOK! A DISTRACTION!
- Nina Delacroix of Eerie Cuties is easily distracted by butterflies and her unfortunate werewolf classmate Ace, calling out "Puppy!" whenever she spots him and chasing after him.
- Walky from Walkyverse.
- Footloose: Jin the half-werewolf has the doggish tendency to be distracted by anything she sees.
- Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic
- Cap'n Fang, who would give Tomo and Osaka tag-teaming together a run for their money. Ironically it's his specific mental disability which makes him the greatest kobold pirate ever. Though, everyone eventually gets at least one of these moments.
- Also from this comic: "Satyrs have a rather short attention span."
- The Order of the Stick
- V's familiar, Blackwing, seems to be easily distracted by shiny objects, whether it's a bauble or a giant swirly rip in space and time (although to be fair to Blackwing, a giant swirly rip in space and time with what would seem to have a planet on the other side isn't something you exactly need ADHD or ADD to be distracted by).
- To Elan, at least, dinosaurs are more important than any sort of ethical concerns.
- Roy pretty much spells it out on their first trip to the Oracle.
Roy: Proof once again that we are the only adventurers for whom the letters "AD&D" stand for "Attention Deficit Disorder".
- Hilariously parodied on Broken Plot Device when introducing Sunny to Liz. The remark in the final panel is priceless.
- Millie from Ozy and Millie This is but one example.
- This PvP strip. Scratch, being a cat, naturally.
- Minmax the Invicible Warrior, from Goblins. "...OOO! A shiny rock!" He probably traded this for a combat bonus.
- Gertrude in The KAMics suffers from this here, here and ... ooh, cool!
- Familiar Ground: "ooh, pretty!"
- Archipelago: Blitz. To give you an idea, in the second book a man lost in the woods asks him for help. Blitz rather focuses on a shiny bauble he is wearing and asks to show it to his friend. Given permission, he grabs the shiny and gleefully runs back home, unaware that he is dragging the man behind him.
- In Rusty and Co., a summary is blamed on the readers' need for it.
- Blade Bunny is either this or pretending to be.
- In Shifters Werebeasts are often subject to the drawbacks of their animal forms as well as the advantages.
- Sabrina "Ultragirl" Mancini in Rival Angels isn't usually prone to this, but it happens to her once at a very inconvenient time. Her best friend, Sun Wong, almost falls off the edge of the stage (twenty foot drop), but Sabrina saves her by grabbing the waistband of her shorts at the last second. Sabrina then uses her other hand to grab the comic's Big Bad (who pushed Sun toward the edge in the first place) to prevent herself from being dragged over the edge along with Sun. And just when it looks like all three of them are going to fall, one of the Big Bad's two Dragons grabs her and pulls. Which is when this exchange happens:
Sun: Don't let go, Sabrina!
- Rolan of Ears for Elves has this problem when Tanna's showing him around the Taurecuiva Festival. Well, surely he has a right to be distracted when it's all so new to him, what with being a different culture and such...
- Girl Genius: This discussion about what happens if we don't do our jobs is so fascinating, we can't do our jobs.
- This is just about as close to a literal demonstration of this trope as you can get.
- Fidget, a Kid Hero speedster who attends the Hyperion Academy in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe suffers from this problem. In his case, it's usually over-exaggerated in the storylines, though the writers did do one thing right: when his attention isn't flitting from place to place like a butterfly in a field of posies, it's hyper-focused like a laser beam to the exclusion of everything around him
- Crops up very frequently in Survival of the Fittest. Some portrayals of ADHD (such as Lance Barrett) are very low-key and realistic. Others however, like with Owen Fontaine, are of the plain old bouncing off the walls variety.
- Uncyclopedia has a self-demonstrating article on the subject.
- WALL-E Forum Roleplay: Spectrum, oh so very much.
Spectrum: Hi! You're colorful!
- Whateley Universe example: Joanne Gunnarson, codename Murphy, but her problem is written fairly accurately. Has ADHD, and has just manifested as a mutant so her meds don't work right. Spends all her time walking around drinking coffee. When she gets distracted or upset, her power kicks in, which is bad. She's a Reality Warper, and reality usually warps so that she gets the short end of the stick.
- Brandon from Trinton Chronicles has this problem.
- My Opinions On Every Pokémon Ever: "Ooh, look! He's wearing a bowtie!"
- NigaHiga on YouTube claims to have ADHD and has vlog segments of what he's like when he's "Off the Pill"
- The Nostalgia Critic during Fern Gully 2: "Is this what you humans call ADD? I feel like I can't focus on anythin--oooh, a housefly." (moves off after it) He also displays this in other reviews, especially when he wanders off during a boring film.
- Similarly, The Nostalgia Chick gets constantly distracted by puppies, cute jewelery or her team's antics.
- YouTube personality Tobuscus is this trope personified in his "Lazy Vlog" series, which are often more of a Motor Mouth-fueled stream of consciousness than anything planned. Some recurring distractions approach the level of Catch Phrases, such as "Ooh, an airplane!" or "Hot hot hot!" when seeing an attractive female. He also has a Let's Play channel (called TobyGames), in which he can be counted on to constantly lose track of what he's supposed to be doing, leading to amusing (if occasionally frustrating) misadventures.
- Atlus employees suffer this, at least according to Yahtzee's review of Catherine:
Atlus developer: ... Wait, I'm confused. What was I fixing again? Oh, look! A puppy!
- Noka: Found has the brilliant idea of smashing the furniture down and refashioning all of it into a fort-igloo hybrid. Albeit, he did almost none of the work and spent most of the time searching for his bacon-print underwear to fly as the fort's flag, he still managed to convince Abel and Solo to help him.
- Stuttering Craig suffered from it during his Vortex review.
Stuttering Craig: Seeing something pretty will never be more important than gameplAY- what is that over there. *pauses* That looks really- I'll be right back. Hold on. That looks really cool. *Runs off* IT'S SO SHINY!
- Dan Carlin's hardcore history says that the Romans describe Germanic invaders in more or less this way. Tall, strong, unbelievably brave, skillful with weapons, a monstrous horde descending on Rome! Then they get distracted by Spain for a few years.
- #6 on Cracked.com's If Everything Got An Adorable Mascot is Addie the ADHD tornado. "Let us help you learn to cope with... Ohh!!! Shiny!!!"
- The Simpsons
- Bart, after pulling a few too many pranks in one day, was diagnosed with ADD and put on "Focusyn". The episode was more focused on the side-effects of the drug, which wound up making him insane and paranoid. Although...he turned out to be right about major league baseball spying on people with satellites. In fact, his reaction to the medication is Truth in Television. ADHD medications like Ritalin and Adderall have increased anxiety as one of the nastier side effects. Psychiatrists sometimes prescribe anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds with the stimulants to balance that out and symptoms of depression are official contraindications against usage of the drugs.
- There's another one, in which he's committed to writing a school essay:
Bart: Gotta study, gotta study, gotta look at that bird...
- Homer also shows signs of this one. Example is this exchange between him and a recruiter for a cult:
Homer: Wait, I'm confused. So the cops knew that internal affairs were setting them up?
- Upon discovering a man identical to himself lying knocked out in front of Moe's:
Homer: (Gasp) This man is my exact double! (GASP) That dog has a puffy tail! Here puff, here puff! (chases dog)
- When Homer attended college, he left the classroom to chase a dog, running merrily around a tree.
- When Marge wrote a novel and Homer promised to read it:
Homer: No, gotta read Marges' book. Can't get distracted. Distracted, that's a funny word. Does anyone ever get 'tracted'? I'm gonna call the suicide hotline and ask them.
- More a case of Hypocritical Humor but it qualifies for this as well:
Homer: ...and I'm not easily impressed! WOW, a blue car!
Timmy: Well, I'm Timmy Turner. I'm ten years old and I have a short attention span. Also... (pauses for a moment, then walks off)
- In Animaniacs, every Buttons and Mindy short would start with Mindy noticing something interesting - like a balloon, a butterfly, or a small animal - and chase after it, followed by the hapless Buttons chasing after her.
- Clone High
Gandhi: Did you hear? Did you hear? Don't tell Paul Revere. Gandhi is contagious. Totally outrageous. A disease with initials. That's the worst kind. ADD. Has warped. His mind.
- And Special Guest Tom Green:
Tom Green: Hi, I'm Ottawa's Tom Green. I live in Hollywood, thank you. So some of you may have been mean to a kid with ADD. That's not cool. Coffee? Anyone for -- coffee anyone? All right, sorry. I like cotton candy. Check out my muscle. Potato chips. It's a Ferris wheel. So I guess what I'm trying to say is -- plastic bag! Plastic bag! Plastic bag! Plastic bag! Plastic bag! Plastic bag!
- An episode of South Park has the entire elementary school diagnosed with ADHD, and every single kid in town was prescribed Ritalin; the teachers then complained that the school was now calm to the point of dullness (and how did they illustrate this dullness? Everyone suddenly had a yearning to go and see Phil Collins in concert), and everyone was prescribed a Ritalin antidote, Ritalout.
- Kim Possible's boyfriend is the poster child of this trope. Lampshaded, of all places, in the episode where Ron is tested whether or not he is actually the hero.
- Bobby from King of the Hill is once put on drugs for what appeared to be ADHD. The drug's actions on his body are rather realistic, causing him to count the ridges on checkers rather than playing the game, to everyone's surprise.
- Mikey from Kappa Mikey has a really short attention spaaAA—Hey, look at that bird! * Face Palm*
- Family Guy
- Cleveland Jr., before his departure to The Cleveland Show, was a very hyperactive boy who often found lost interest in something he was good at then turned to something else. In the only episode where he had a major appearance he becomes a very talented golfer but by the end of the episode he loses interest and starts kicking the golf ball around like a soccer ball.
- Peter is no different either in later seasons. Chris even lampshaded one episode after Peter's stint as a pirate in which he quickly loses interest after losing his parrot and found a piano. Most of Peter's antics is due to his "It Amused Me" attitude. If something is not amusing him, he will quickly find something else that will, which makes his focus waver all over. Peter also has a nasty habit going completely off topic when he speaks to someone without missing a beat at all. Brian lampshades this when he asks Peter if he is asking for his help or if he is going to ask another pointless question again.
- One episode has Peter display an extreme case of being easily distracted. When Peter screws up the timeline in the past by going with Cleveland to a club instead of going out with Lois, it causes him to be married to another woman in the present instead of Lois. Death gives Peter another chance to fix his screw ups, but Peter winds up screwing up several times (pissing off Lois and then going to the club with Cleveland every time Death gives Peter another shot). Death finally gets pissed off at Peter and tells him he is on his own. Of course, Peter manages to fix everything in the last minute.
- James Woods, whose animated likeness served as a murderous antagonist for the Griffin family, would often contemplate his revenge against the Griffin family before being distracted by a trail of Reeses Pieces ("Ooh, a piece of candy!" "Ooh, a piece of candy!" "Ooh, a piece of candy!" ... ), before falling victim to a trap box, where he would be restrained until his ultimate arrest—or as the show made it out, to await examination by scientists.
- Johnny Test might have some degree of ADHD.
- Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is sometimes prone to this. She interrupted her friends' Shut UP, Hannibal moment against The Spirit of Chaos for one last swig of chocolate milk rain.
- The animals on My Gym Partners a Monkey go into a hypnotic trance if presented with a shiny object. For that reason, they're banned from school grounds. Jake uses a faceted glass doorknob from Adam's house to put the entire school under his power. They spend the whole day talking about "monkey butt". Pretty pretty, shiny shiny...
- Violet from Word Girl is easily distracted by anything remotely cute or pretty. Puppies, butterflies, paintings, cats....
- Fred from Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated not only obsesses over traps, anything remotely shiny derails his train of thought.
- The Tick (animation), of course. In a Journey to the Center of the Mind episode, his own brain explains "I'm easily distracted by shiny objects." Later on, Tick sees something shiny in the distance and runs off to check it out.
- In The Problem Solverz it doesn't take much to distract Alfe. "Did somebody say ninjas?!"
- Daffy Duck from The Looney Tunes Show has a severe case of this. One such example is when he realizes that Bugs' new dog is a dangerous Tasmanian devil... then he gets distracted by an ad for guitar lessons. Later he tries to warn him again, but stops to buy a hooded sweatshirt.
- Metalocalypse: The members of Dethklok are constantly fiddling with items such as laser pointers and cell phones, even while Ofdensen is trying to convey important matters to them
Ofdensen: You have a very short attention span!
- Fish Hooks
- Clamantha; her band is even named "Clamantha and the Shiny Objects".
- Milo is shown to have this in "Fail Fish".
- Pinky in Pinky and The Brain has a severely limited attention span, which is made even worse by the fact that he barely understands Brain's monologues about world domination anyway. It's lampshaded several times.
- Gir from Invader Zim. Where do we even start?
- From the Futurama episode Lrrr tries to invade the Earth, but makes the mistake of landing at a comic book convention:
Lrrr: I don't understand, why are the humans continuing to eat their soft pretzels instead of surrendering?
- Entrapta is frequently a victim of this in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, mostly regarding technology. In one episode where Netossa analyzes the Weaksauce Weaknesses of each Alliance member, this is the one she claims Entrapta has.