Failed Attempt At Drama

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

When a character tries to be dramatic and fails miserably. Often overlaps with The Exit Is That Way. Similar to Narm, but in a Failed Attempt At Drama the humor is intentional on the writer's part, and the character is trying to be dramatic on purpose.

Examples of Failed Attempt At Drama include:

Anime and Manga

  • In an early episode of Pokémon, a gym leader asks Ash for help attacking a rival gym. Ash refuses, tells the guy off, turns around and slips on some ketchup and falls on his face. The two gyms were more interested in money than anything else, so Ash wanted to break the stalemate and shut them both down after said ketchup trip.

Ash: [in his head] That was dramatic... (slips on ketchup, falls face-down) [out loud] That was pathetic!

  • In Chapter 4 of the Fullmetal Alchemist Manga, while trying to stop a train robbery, Edward prepares to climb on the outside of the train, after giving a Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner with Al... only to almost get blown off the train due to the turbulence.

Fan Works


  • Seen in Kung Fu Panda, when Shifu tries to give Po the Dragon Scroll. Clearly, Shifu imagined it as a deep, respectful, reverent moment. He clearly did NOT imagine it with an overeager fanboy who couldn't even get the scroll open.
  • In Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, after being told to go wash, Grumpy crossly storms out on the Princess, but walks straight into a door.
  • Near the end of Parenthood, Gil's grandma uses a metaphor to describe parenthood as a rollercoaster in an attempt to convince him and his wife Karen not to get an abortion, then leaves to wait for them in the car. Karen says "As far as I'm concerned, your grandmother is brilliant." Gil looks out the window and says "Yeah, if she's so brilliant why is she sitting in our neighbor's car?"
  • In Star Wars, when Luke storms out from dinner:

Aunt Beru: Where are you going?
Luke: Looks like I'm going nowhere... I'm gonna finish cleaning those droids.

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: Roger Rabbit's angsty reaction to Eddie going to call the cops fails, as he walks into the closet. When Eddie opens the closet door, Roger cuffs himself to him, so maybe he planned it all along. (Or not. Hard to tell with Toons.)
  • Shaolin Soccer, when the replacement goalie makes a dramatic entrance and walks into the goal post... of the opposing team.
  • Jason's speech about how Robert won't kill them in Mystery Team leads to him getting shot.


  • The Book Thief. Angry at the mayor's wife, Liesel throws a ball of paper at their house. Naturally, the paper bounces off the door, down the steps and comes rolling back to her.

Live-Action TV

  • On 30 Rock, Josh attempts to overturn the table and storm out angrily. Unfortunately, he can't lift the table, leaving the others staring at him.

Liz: Well, help him, nerds! And lift with your legs!

  • Drake and Josh
    • When they have an argument and Josh trips on his way out of the room. "I may have stumbled, but that does not lessen the significance of this departure!"
    • The scene is referenced again in a later episode when a crappy TV show is made about Drake and Josh Expies Drew and Jerry. Drake and Josh watch a scene of the Drew and Jerry Show, and in it the Jerry character says "I may have tripped, but that does not diminish the impact of this exit!" This prompts Josh to wonder why they made Jerry such a dork, only to realise the reason and hang his head in shame.
  • Frasier
    • When Frasier tells Roz that Bulldog only wants her to produce his show to get her into bed. Her sprained ankle and crutches cause her dramatic exit to be painfully slow, and it only gets worse when she reaches the door, tells him that she is out of his life for good, and realizes she has to turn back and get her purse.
    • Also when Frasier made a big dramatic speech to his building's board about how they're all a bunch of petty tyrants, and as he leaves, his briefcase opens and spills his papers onto the floor, forcing him to pick them up and ruining his dramatic exit.
    • Also after Daphne has an argument with Martin and Frasier about something. She tells them off and storms off to her room, but as Frasier points out to Martin, "That would have been very effective--if her room were on that side of the apartment." Followed by a mortified Daphne slowly slinking her way back across the hallway to her room, refusing to make eye contact with them.
    • Another that occurs off-screen with Niles storming out of Maris' mansion after an argument, and his failed attempt to close the massive front doors. was that fourteenth-century Bavarian cathedral door, so I had to get two of the servants to help me slam it. But what it lacked in spontaneity, it made up for in resonance!!

  • The Office, when Michael wants to tell Andy about Dwight and Angela just as he is leaving for New York to make it dramatic, but the distance between the front door and his car forces him to stall for time. "I do not have much time... car's all the way over there... to tell you what I have to tell you. And just bear in mind when I say... say these things, that... are bad things... that you hear... in your ears... this is something that I, if I were you, that I wouldn't want to hear..."
  • Mackenzie Falls, a fictional soap opera on Sonny With a Chance, is very dramatic and serious to the characters of the show, but humorous to the viewer.
  • Moody's Point on The Amanda Show was also an over-the-top soap opera similar to MacKenzie Falls, funny to the audience but looking like it was intended to be taken seriously.
  • In Boy Meets World Cory attempts the dramatic exit, but ends up going through the wrong door and into a closet. He saves it by saying "And I'm taking back my sweater!"
  • The guys from the Spanish Inquisition on Monty Python's Flying Circus are trying to be as threatening as they can to scare the people they encounter, but due to their incredible stupidity are just funny.
  • Used in Scrubs when J.D. tries to come up with a clever insult before the elevator closes. He ends up with, "Hey Dr Cox. Why don't you just... you're the kinda guy that... aaw."
  • In the iCarly episode "iSaw Him First", Carly and Sam get obsessed with Shane, a member of Freddie's A.V. club, and the obsession caused them to have an argument, but when Sam broke the straw on the camel's back by mentioning Carly wearing a support bra, Carly, fed up, leaves. Two seconds later, she comes back in because it's her apartment room.
  • Used in The George Lopez Show after George's mom gets arrested for helping with a robbery thirty years ago. Because George wouldn't say anything to exonerate her, as she is taken away by the police she shouts "I never want to see you again!" George responds by saying "But how are you going to get bail?" She stops, comes back in (with the police officer still holding on to her) and says "I'll see you one last time!"
  • Arrested Development
    • The wind keeps Gob from throwing a letter into the ocean.

Narrator: Gob had not mailed the letter, but in an act of defiance, dramatically hurled it into the sea. This proved a more difficult dramatic gesture than he anticipated.

    • Similarly, during the time G.O.B. becomes the company president, he tries to fire Michael and call security on him, but can't figure out how to use the phone and has to be directed by Michael.
  • The West Wing
    • Ainsley Hayes makes a strong argument in a political debate between White House co-workers, then asks, "Can I have that last cupcake?" Sam points out her mistake later.
    • Even though Sam does pretty much the exact same thing when Bartlet smacks down a conservative radio-show host. A CMOA for Bartlet. For Sam... not so much.
    • Ainsley seems to do a few of these. There's the time in her job interview when she's arguing a point with Leo McGarry when she suddenly stands up. The intent is to show that she is rising to demonstrate her passion for the point she's trying to make. Leo thinks she's trying to leave.
  • On The Golden Girls, when Dorothy finds out her boyfriend is married, she tries to storm out of the hotel room, except;

Dorothy: Oh God, I'm storming out into the bathroom!

  • On the Doctor Who episode "Love and Monsters", the main character and his Love Interest fall victim to this, and it has disastrous consequences.
  • In Black Books, Fran and Bernard have a fight. Fran storms out of the bookshop, coldly informing Bernard that she doesn't think they should see each other for a while. She then immediately reenters, announces "I forgot my bag!" in an embarrassed sing-song tone and flounces out again once she's picked it up.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "The Third Wheel", Eric and Hyde both storm out of a bowling alley after a fight, than return to take off their bowling shoes.
  • In the Friends episode "The One with the Jellyfish", Phoebe meets her real mother, and gets mad at her, because she never tried to contact her. She shouts "I don't ever want to see you again!", and storms out, than returns for her purse, covering her eyes with her hand.
  • In an episode of House, the title character is listening to loud music in his office when Vogler walks in to introduce himself. After a tense discussion, House turns on the speakers again... which start playing a Jewish folk song. House turns it off and says, "That wasn't as dramatic as I had hoped."
  • Sophie does this in an episode of Leverage when she takes over doing the mission briefings from Nate. She ends the briefing on a dramatic note and then ends up walking away... right into the closet.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Willow, trying to be angry and assertive, has to tell Buffy "I'm storming off... doesn't really work if you come with me." as she walks off in a slump.
    • In the episode "Gone", the Trio attempt to make a dramatic escape from Buffy under the cover of a smoke bomb, but they can't get the door open in time, and the smoke clears to reveal them still fiddling with it before they finally manage to get out. It happens again in "Seeing Red"—after Buffy has defeated Warren and Andrew, the former escapes using a Jet Pack. Andrew reveals that he has a jet pack as well, and tells Buffy that it's not over, and they will meet again...before jetting into an overhanging roof and knocking himself unconscious.
    • In "A New Man", Ethan Rayne spends a few moments doing the usual vaguely ominous speech to an empty room after Giles leaves... only for Giles to hear him as he leaves and come back.

Ethan: In fact, Ripper, old mate, I'd say something rather interesting is about to ha--
Giles: (re-enters the room) Is someone--
Ethan: Oh, bugger, I thought you'd gone.

  • "Real Me"; Harmony throws a rock through Buffy's window, with a note attached written in blood, telling Buffy to, "Come out and die." But she completely blows it by dotting the i in "die" with a smiley face.
  • An episode of Will and Grace has Jack storm out of their apartment only to have his suitcase caught on the door.

Jack: Do you mind, I'm trying to be dramatic.

  • The King of Queens
    • Averted and lampshaded when Carrie angrily storms out of her office and the elevator arrives as soon as she presses the button rather than leaving her standing around waiting.

Carrier: Boy, am I glad that came fast.

    • Speaking of elevators, there's also a scene in the episode "Strike Too" where Doug and Carrie have an argument over whether or not Doug's union strike is having a negative effect on him. Doug angrily walks into the elevator behind them and press the button to go down; however, the elevator does not go down immediately. To make matters worse, when the elevator is finally about to close, another man presses the button to get in. Doug is left staring at Carrie, who is trying her best not to laugh.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Usually used by Alex Russo, attempting to storm out.
  • Rachel Berry's multiple attempts to storm out of the Glee club often fall into this, including when she was in a wheelchair and she tried to storm out, only to wheel herself into the doorframe.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun:

Dick: Fine! We can tell when we're not wanted!
(he storms out of the room, but the rest of the family doesn't move; after a beat, Dick runs back in)
Dick: We're not wanted.
Harry: Oh!
''(the rest of the family follows Dick out of the room)

  • Crownies has a scene where Richard angrily confronts the tennant he has been trying to evict. The Crowning Moment of Awesome is a little diluted by his riding off on a bicycle a moment later.
  • In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, one of Barney's coworkers quits spectacularly while his boss is chewing him out during a meeting, shouts to everyone that he just made a load of money in the stock market and doesn't need this job anymore, and then gets up on the conference table yelling "Here's what I think of this stupid company!" and attempts to pee on it...but has a shy bladder and can't get the stream going. His meek "Could everyone turn away for a minute?" and everyone's polite acquiescence makes it even lamer.

Newspaper Comics

  • In one Peanuts comic strip, it shows Lucy threatening to make a dramatic exit, saying she's going to run away, and join a roller derby. But as Linus points out, she'll find that rather difficult to do... with ice skates.

Video Games

  • A slightly more serious example: Malcolm in Full Throttle concludes his recorded will with a long rant both calling out his former business partner and a heartfelt apology to his estranged daughter:

Malcolm: He was wrong. I was wrong. I should have stood by her. I hope, Maureen, that you forgive me, and that you take over Corley Motors and run it however you see fit! ... all right, that's enough! How do I turn this damn thing off?

Thug Leader: If I catch you again, I'll grind you into so many pieces that... uh... well there's going to be a lot of them! I can tell you that!

  • At one point in Breath of Fire 3, you are asked by a mutant to flip a switch on a conveyor belt to send it into boiling lava to destroy it. You can instead flip another switch to send it towards the opposite direction, prompting the mutant to deliver the death line he prepared before realizing: "Hey! Wrong way!"

Web Comics

  • In this xkcd strip, a character attempts to escape from his implied girlfriend, who has just told him "We need to talk." He throws a smoke bomb, but it is only strong enough to make her cough and set off the smoke alarm. Despite this, he still tries to get the window open, but it is stuck. The woman shakes her head in disappointment and leaves. The Alt-text makes it funnier: "I just wanted to talk about your poor smoke-bomb techniques."
  • Hedge of El Goonish Shive gets plenty of dramatic moments ruined—usually by passing owls. This makes him the Master of the Anti-Climactic Moment.
  • Lord Katarakis of Starslip is one of the grand masters of this trope. His first appearance had him point a bunch of guns at the Fuseli, prompting Vanderbeam to sheepishly ask if they were "flower guns". His answer? "Only some of them."
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob: Spacefaring supercriminal Fructose Riboflavin is prone to this.
  • Homestuck: I SAID... PUT THE BUNNY... BACK IN... THE BOX!!!!!
    • Later on, Jadesprite's sorrowful speech is undercut by her woofing. Even Jade can't help but laugh.

Western Animation

  • American Dad, where Stan shouts "I'm the one who made the decisions that kept this family on track for twenty years. I deserve a little respect!" and storms off into the pantry by mistake.
  • The Simpsons
    • Mr. Burns announces that the church's revenues have increased 1073% and that he intends to keep it all for himself and throws a smoke bomb on the ground. When the smoke clears he is still fumbling with the door handle, so he just gives up and throws the money to the church council.
    • In "Homer to the Max", Homer is teased because of a buffoonish TV character with his own name. He goes to the show's producers and begs them to "please leave my dignity!" His impassioned plea is undercut when he walks face first into a cactus on his way out. Later in the same episode, Homer's co-workers are watching him work in the hopes that he will do something stupid and entertaining. He looks back at them and says, "Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you gentlemen, but you seem to have me confused with a character in a fictional show." He then proceeds to knock over a fondue pot on the console and causes unspecified (but presumably very serious) problems in other cities' power plants. In a third scene in the same episode, Homer's friends at Moe's Bar mock him. He attempts to leave in a huff and flings his scarf over his shoulder—it catches in a fan on the ceiling and whirls him around like a rag doll then flings him out the door.
    • Fat Tony forces Marge to pull over and tries to reach in to pull out her car keys, only for Marge to have to instruct him how to do it.
    • The episode where Lisa receives a vision of her future from a fortune-teller; the fortune-teller tries this with a smoke-bomb after Lisa objects to her vision, but when the smoke clears is left sitting there, a bit nonplussed, as if she actually expected to just disappear into thin air.
    • Mr. Burns tries to storm out of the Simpson's home but isn't strong enough to toss the furniture, so Smithers does it for him. Homer tries to reason with Mr. Burns, who just tells him to "shut up and wreck something", so he does.
  • On Family Guy, Brian was doing community service for an angry, reclusive old woman and when he can't take it any more he yells at her and tries to leave, but is hindered by her door and its many locks. After she helps him get the door open, he gives her a very unconvincing "And, you know... drop dead," and leaves.
  • In Total Drama World Tour, Gwen, Courtney, and Heather all argue on how to complete a challenge. They eventually give up and storm out... in the same direction. They then argue on who should have to storm out where.
  • Sadlygrove of Wakfu is a repeat offender. One of the most drawn-out example is certainly during the first Gobbowl arc, after the start of the second quarter-time. Grovy seizes the gobball to everyone's surprise and runs, along with a very uplifiting music, dramatic echo of Ruel's earlier psych-up speech and Split-Screen Reaction of everybody else... and he scores! Except it is revealed after a few seconds of shocked silence that he scored against his team. Cue the public rolling in laughter, and his teammates barely preventing Ruel from strangling Sadlygrove.
  • After she's revealed to have Feet of Clay, Trixie of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic attempts to do a Smoke Out exit, but once the smoke clears we can see her running off.
  • From The Weekenders, this goes along the lines of:

Tino: I've enough of you guys! I'm leaving. (exists through front door)
Tino: (comes back in through door) Okay, this is my house so you leave.

  • In an episode of DC Super Hero Girls, both Hal and Jessica recite the Green Lantern Oath (You know, the "In brightest day, in blackest night!" routine) in tandem to assume "super-mode" to fight Star Sapphire... Only for it to fail for Hal and his ring to sputter; Green Lantern rings are powered by bravery, and he's too afraid of Star (whom he callously dumped via text message) for it to function.
  • In an episode of Disenchantment, when Bean and Mora's motorcycle is wrecked on their way to Steamland, they decide to board the nearby pirate ship and take over; they barge into the captain's room, and...

Bean: This ship is under the command of Captain Bean!
Mora: Respect the rank or walk the plank!

  • ...but then they discover - much to their delight - that the captain is Bean's stepmother Oona. She's actually rather impressed, but recommends that next time they try to shanghai a ship, they "kill first and blab later".