Intermission

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Intermission 3696.jpg

Let's all go to the lobby
Let's all go to the lobby
Let's all go to the lobby

And have ourselves a treat!

Once Upon a Time, when bladders were smaller, attention spans were shorter, and people actually went to the theatre to see films instead of illegally streaming them off the Internet, there was a thing called an intermission. This was a time when people got out of their seats and walked around in the lobby talking with their fellow patrons of the arts and using the facilities. This broke up the pacing of a film and changed a monolith into something considered in smaller parts. During the intermissions themselves, it was common to show cartoons with catchy jingles enticing the audience to head to the lobby and buy themselves some refreshments.

These days, intermissions are far less common, but that hasn't stopped them from popping up in all sorts of media, including a few where they don't even seem to make sense, such as webcomics. Films are still the most common source outside of live theatre though, especially Epic Movies. Bonus points if the intermission is included in the home video version. Some cinemas (especially smaller ones) will also insert intermissions into the films being shown even when there was no original split.

In Theatre, intermissions are still standard practice. They provide a break to let the stage crew change the set around. Also, theatrical productions tend to be relatively long, and also tend to frown heavily on people leaving and returning during the performance, so intermissions are much more of a biological necessity. There also an economic one as theatres can make some sales at the bar and/or snack food stands, only they have to be consumed outside of the auditorium. In other media, standards tend to be more lax. As almost all theatre productions involve intermissions, don't list one of them here unless it's particularly noteworthy.

Lengthy concert performances by musicians or stand up comedians may also include an intermission, to give the performers a break and to allow for possible changes in the lineup. During the intermission, backup performers may provide light ambient music to entertain people who don't choose to leave their seats, but featured pieces will be reserved for when the show resumes.

In American baseball, an intermission takes place in the middle of the seventh inning, and is referred to as the "seventh inning stretch".

If you're looking for the 2003 film, see here.


Examples of Intermission include:



Films with proper intermissions[edit | hide | hide all]


Films with joke intermissions[edit | hide]

"Perhaps a carbonated soda?"
"My nipples look like Milk Duds!"

  • Sita Sings the Blues has a three-minute intermission sequence, showing animation of the movie's characters going out to get snacks and then coming back.


Theatre with notable intermissions[edit | hide]


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Music[edit | hide]

  • The Sandra Boynton-penned kids' CD Philadelphia Chickens has an intermission. Or at least an intermission song.

Oh we've come to intermission so it's time to stretch your toes
And if you are an aardvark, you should also stretch your nose...

  • The Offspring album Ixnay on the Hombre includes a track entitled Intermission. True to its name, it's a relaxing bit of light jazz.


New Media[edit | hide]

  • Many live video streaming networks have a set of intermissions to use for whenever there's a sudden break in the action, such as when the streamer needs a break.


Other[edit | hide]

  • Premium cable TV channels such as HBO or Showtime have occasionally done this for longer films such as Oklahoma!, The Right Stuff, and Amadeus.
  • In keeping with their commitment of showing "movies as they were meant to be seen", Turner Classic Movies often shows movies with the original intermissions.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • 1970s BBC Radio sketch show The Burkiss Way had a "brief intermission" in each show (always preceded by "Theme from A Summer Place"), generally consisting of sketches that had a separate theme from the rest of the show. On one occasion the Intermission took up about 90% of the episode.


Stand Up Comedy[edit | hide]

  • A tradition at nearly all of Ross Noble's gigs is for audience members to leave bizarre gifts on the stage during the interval. The more interesting ones will usually be incorporated into the show somehow. And given his penchant for going off on many different tangents, and taking quite a long time to make his the point, the subject of the interval/intermission will usually crop up doing his set:

"Please can we have an interval Ross... PISS IS GONNA COME OUT OF OUR EYES!!!"


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Simpsons parodied a common intermission song as seen in this clip.
  • Seen in the Tex Avery cartoon "What's Buzzing, Buzzard", which poked fun of food rationing during World War II. At one point a character imagines a T-bone steak with all the fixings, and there's a five second intermission "for drooling".


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Quest for Glory 2 parodies this with an intermission during the off-screen brigand battle. During an extended cutscene, your desert caravan of perhaps twenty is assaulted by hundreds upon hundreds of bandits, and even the narration box comments that things look hopeless. Then, intermission! And when you finally hit the space bar to return to the game, the first thing you see is your hero standing apart a true mountain of dead people, and the caravan reduced to about 7.
  • Unreal: Return to Na Pali has this between missions.
  • Wet has fake intermissions, both as part of its Grindhouse aesthetic and to cover loading times.
  • Pac-Man was probably the first game to have intermissions (and they were even called that) - short animations every few screens to break up the gameplay. This was continued in several of the game's sequels (Ms. Pac-Man, Jr. Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Pac-Mania, etc).