Pass the Popcorn
When a character is treating a certain scene as pure entertainment, they will often be shown eating popcorn or other stereotypical movie-theater food. Where they get it from is a mystery. Usually the scene will be something like a fight or a private conversation between lovers, that generally isn't intended for anyone's amusement (at least not in-universe). Almost inevitably, the character will be too fixated on the entertainment to actually look at what he's eating.
This is always used for humor; it often indicates that the character in question is callous enough that they are deriving amusement from someone's anguish or anger rather than offering to help. It may also indicate that the character in question has no stake in the outcome. Sometimes the character becomes an Audience Surrogate, giving an in-universe voice to the audience's feelings towards the scene. A lesser version is the mere comment "Oh, I've got to see this/hear this one." or "This is gonna be good." There's also the "selling tickets" version, a variation of which would be to play bookie and take bets. Often combinations of these variations are seen, sometimes turning said event into a circus. In extreme cases, bleachers or other seating arrangements and other arena like accouterments are often pulled out of Hammerspace to add to the ridiculousness of the situation (which promptly disappear after the event). The "sexy" version is when two women are going at it, and a male observer(s) appear as the eager audience.
Compare and contrast Long Speech Tea Time (where the audience has a Spot of Tea or something because they're bored) and The Snack Is More Interesting (where someone is involved, but acts strangely unconcerned). Come to Gawk is often an element. If the situation is in really bad taste, the spectator is probably a Nightmare Fetishist.
- During the climactic battle near the end of the first half of Slayers Revolution, Xellos can be seen on the sidelines eating popcorn.
- Mahou Sensei Negima has a large-scale version happen during the Battle of Mahora: Evangeline and the Principal spend the entire time sitting on the sidelines and watching while drinking sake. The Principal did attempt to intervene when things got really serious, but Eva stopped him.
- That one scene in Noir (you know, the one where Kirika uses popcorn to detect the current squad of mooks...) is quite possibly a tribute, or parody, or something of this phenomenon, if not outright breaking the fourth wall.
- In an episode of Ninin ga Shinobuden, resident Tsundere Miyabi is talking to a boy on the way home from school. Meanwhile, Shinobu, Onsokumaru and several ninja are watching in the bushes eating various snacks.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena
- Although it's obvious someone is watching each duel, Nanami's last duel hangs lampshade on it. While Nanami and Utena duel, Touga (who otherwise had a reason to be part of the duel) slips away and joins Akio on the viewing platform. And they give exposition. Lounging on a bed.
- During the last duel, the Student Council has nothing they can do. They idle around the Student Council balcony, dropping vague symbolism, backstory, and ultimately cooking potatoes over a campfire, while they await the outcome.
- This happens quite a lot in Ranma ½.
- One example is when Ryōga is trying to build up the courage to kiss Akari. Ranma proceeds to sit right next to them while munching on potato chips. Ryōga is not pleased.
- Nabiki seems to be made of the "selling tickets/taking bets" varieties complete with Abacus. If an honor duel match is scheduled to happen some time, you can bet she'll either be selling tickets or perhaps has even turned the event into a complete spectacle.
- In Soul Eater during a duel, Soul and Black☆Star get distracted when they start having a moment. When Kid asks if he can shoot them now, Liz tells him not to since it's just getting good.
- In Naruto, Tobi has no popcorn (not that he couldn't get some), but he mostly sits around and comments on other people's battles.
- Siege: Storming Asgard, a lead-up profile special for the Marvel event, mentions a potential battle between Ares (of the Dark Avengers) and Tyr (Asgardian war god). The note from the compiler of the profiles? "Check on our stocks of popcorn in case this happens."
- In the JLA vs. the Crime Syndicate of Amerika arc of JLA, the Justice League's evil counterparts from a Mirror Universe (the Crime Syndicate of Amerika) end up in the "good" universe while the Justice League takes on the Void Hound, a mechanical creature easily capable of destroying planets. True to form, instead of helping out, they relax in comfortable chairs provided by the Power Ring (the alternate universe's Green Lantern) and eat popcorn... also provided by the Power Ring. As he says, "It's kind of tasteless, but hey, it's lo-cal."
- In the John Byrne run of The Fantastic Four, a weakened Galactus lands in New York and attempts to eat the Earth's lifeforce. The FF, The Avengers, and Doctor Strange join forces against him. Spider-Man is about to join the fray when Daredevil stops him, saying the two of them would only get in the way. Spider-Man accepts this but says that he wishes he had some popcorn.
- In Don Rosa comic Sign of the Triple Distlefink, as Donald and Gladstone are racing to be the one to get hit by lightning:
Scrooge: I wonder what will be more potent? Gladstone's luck, or Donald's eternal tendency towards self-destruction? One thing is certain! This should be a good show! Pass the lemonade!
- In Gotham Knights #9, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake (Nightwing and Robin, respectively) have this conversation. A later panel shows that they actually followed through on it.
Tim: Did you see that? We don't even have our costumes here -- what're we gonna do?!
Dick: What are we gonna do? Batman is fighting Hugo Strange on the roof of Wayne Enterprises. We're gonna get popcorn!
- With the Justice League, whenever someone is stupid enough to dismiss the threat of Batman because he's just a Badass Normal, the rest of the team often will step back and enjoy the show as The Dark Knight proves why he's a charter member.
- When Dilbert attempts to clone his boss, and mentions that it will cause pain, his coworkers immediately appear to watch, with Wally eating popcorn.
- Dogbert once becomes a driver's ed instructor and shows a student videos of horrific car crashes to supposedly scare him into learning to drive safely. The kid watches it while eating popcorn and responds, "Really? This is supposed to shock people?"
Dogbert: I'll be following your car in a helicopter.
- Zits has a Sunday cartoon that had the family arguing about Jeremy holding up a departure sans dialogue. The last panel showed some neighbors watching and sharing popcorn.
Yusuke: This is a train wreck I need to see for myself!
- In the Yu Yu Hakusho fanfic Of Snowballs, Cellphones, and Homicide, while much of the main cast is going through an impressive series of Disaster Dominoes, Kurama notices that Shizuru and Kaito are munching on popcorn.
- In the Tin Man fanfic series The Gulch Verse, most of the Royal Guards (and Dawkins especially) treat most of the actions involving the princesses, Cain, Gulch, and any other bystanders as the ultimate entertainment. They literally had popcorn and sold tickets to a meeting where the aristocrats were to be informed that one of the princesses that they've been trying to court for political reasons is going to marry a commoner.
- In the Harry Potter fanfic Fallen Angel, one line states: "If Bellatrix ever fell apart, people would just stand there and watch. Katherine would probably bring popcorn."
- In Rurouni Kenshii (a Gender Flip of Rurouni Kenshin), when the title character takes over a fight from her partner Enishi (yes, really), he takes a seat and watches nearby, anticipating the thugs inevitable Mass "Oh Crap" moment when a woman half their size makes them eat dirt.
- Hogyoku Ex Machina involves several characters watching parts of Ichigo's life via projections of his memories (which they had permission for) and with hidden security cameras (...which they did not). At one gathering, they comment on how entertaining his life is, some bring popcorn and Coke (Rukia told them it was a tradition), and everyone, even Ishida and Yamamoto, ends up treating it like a movie night.
- Near the end of Heir to the Empire by Ozzallos, a teenaged Chibi-usa, sent back from the future, sits on the stone lamp in the Tendo yard eating a bucket of popcorn while watching events she's only known about from family stories.
- In chapter 20 of What Do You Want?, a Ranma ½ fanfic by "polenicus", there is an extended sequence where a couple friends watch hilarity begin to ensue between Ranma and Ryoga and start pulling out and nibbling on snacks. As more friends gather, more snacks are brought out and shared, until finally at the end a bucket of popcorn has seemed to materialize out of nowhere.
- Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: just as the singing skeleton is about to explain just how Emily became the eponymous cadaver, General Bones-apart nudges Victor and says, "This is gonna be good."
- Happy Feet features a verbal version: "Now, see, what he's doing is, he's pushing her away. Let's watch the fun."
- In Over the Hedge, at the end when an immensely powerful trap is triggered, some of the characters use the conflagration to heat up their microwave popcorn, which they then eat. They also roast marshmallows.
- A Running Gag in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is those two sailors who are continuously placing bets on the outcome of various disputes—usually between Sinbad and Marina—throughout the film. ("Pay up, it's flat.")
- Plankton eating popcorn in a beach lounge while Krabs gets fried during The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
- In the movie Twister, Jo and Bill start bickering and unwittingly broadcasting their little argument over the team's two-way radio. One of the teams' other vehicles with two people in it (driver and passenger) are listening in and the passenger says to the driver, "I think they're getting better at this" to which the driver nods and says "mhm"
- When Inara makes a video call to Mal in Serenity, the rest of the crew taps into the call and watches it with popcorn, complete with groaning and tossing it at the screen when they inevitably begin dancing around each other.
- The chick-fight scene from Undercover Brother.
- In The Parole Officer, the title character is hiding in a nightclub's storeroom and witnesses a corrupt police officer committing murder. As he watches, he reaches for a bag of crisps and starts eating them as silently as he can. Justified as he is later revealed to be hypoglycemic.
- In the Marx Brothers film Monkey Business, Groucho cheerfully stands between a gangster and his wife while they have a spat, clearly enjoying the show. He even referees the argument, letting the participants know when it's their turn to speak. When the wife gets a little too angry, Groucho hands the gangster a gun, saying "Here, big boy, you're going to need this more than I will."
- In at least one other Marx Brothers movie, Groucho is seen selling popcorn and other treats to spectators during a dramatic confrontation scene.
- The opening scene of Dogma has Matt Damon, as a fallen angel, convert a nun to atheism while Ben Affleck's character watches with a bag of popcorn—he actually brought it for the Hallmark Moments that inevitably come at an airport, but one show is as good as another.
- In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when Augustus gets stuck in the pipe, Wonka is seen eating a handful of candy stuff while watching.
Wonka: The suspense is terrifying. I hope it'll last.
- Hot Shots Part Deux has a limousine driver eating popcorn and using 3D glasses during a parody of the "sex in the back of a limousine" scene of No Way Out.
- Happens in Die Hard with a Vengeance when a group of office workers begin eating popcorn while staring at the giant smoking crater in the middle of Wall Street.
- The Matrix: "Morpheus is fighting Neo!"
- Gone in Sixty Seconds: Memphis and Kip looking on as cops take down Johnnie B. "You want some of this?"
- During the final opera scenes in Repo the Genetic Opera, Luigi Largo can be seen stealing someone's box of popcorn to enjoy the show. Of course, when Rotti announces Shilo is his heir, the popcorn goes flying to great comedic effect.
- When Robin Hood woos Maid Marion in Men in Tights, the merry men set out some benches and gather to watch, and a couple of the villagers are eating popcorn, right off the cob, on a stick.
- In The Rage Carrie 2, while Rachel is going on her psychic-powered Roaring Rampage of Revenge at the party, a group of stoners are sitting outside in their truck watching the events unfold. One of them says, "Dude, we're missing one killer party."
- SWAT ( 2003 ): TJ quite literally when Boxer and Street argue about Boxer's sister.
- In Miss Congeniality, when the FBI use the "Dress Up Sally" website to see what their teammates look like in dresses.
- Philo does this in UHF when he pirate-broadcasts Fletcher's rant. He's eating it out of a beaker.
- In Two Fast Two Furious Brian O'Conner goes to get his friend Roman, they end up getting into a fight with FBI agent Bilkins sitting on a folding chair and eating popcorn.
- In Harry Potter, Fred and George frequently bet on the outcomes of various scenes, mostly to replace the Ludo Bagman plotline from the books.
- This happens in the original movie of Mash, when Hawkeye and some others arrange a tarp-dropping stunt on Margaret in the shower to see if she's a real blonde.
- In The Avengers, when Iron Man attacks Thor, Loki just sits back and enjoys the show instead of taking advantage of the Let's You and Him Fight scenario to escape.
- On at least one occasion in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Bartimaeus comments, "All I need is some popcorn," as he watches Nathaniel get himself in trouble.
- Worf fulfills the "sell tickets" version in Peter David's novel Q-in-Law, when a Q-empowered Lwaxana Troi is beating unholy hell out of Q. (He deserved it.) Also, Lwaxana's manservant is enjoying his popcorn while watching her play handball with Q... as the ball.
- A variation of this occurs in the Ciaphas Cain novels, where Cain mentions he has a couple of enemies that he "would sit back and roast caba nuts" while watching them be burned to death.
- And also in another novel, where he makes a quiet remark akin to "Did anyone forget the caba nuts?" during a Mission Briefing.
- The citizens of Ankh-Morpork tend to treat anything interesting happening in the street as a spectator sport, and Mr Dibbler will inevitably show up with his tray of "sausages" if it lasts long enough.
- In Thud, for perfectly logical reasons, Angua and Sally end up naked, covered in mud, and squaring up to fight each other, until Sally points out there's something missing: "A paying audience. We could make a fortune."
- Lampshaded in The Dresden Files novel Turn Coat, where Murphy and Harry are interrogating Binder in the police station, and Harry is beating the crap out of Binder, while grizzled old police officer Rawlins is watching. Binder declares that what Harry is doing is illegal and it'll all be caught on tape, to which Rawlins cuts in over the intercom that they should wait a moment, as he's got popcorn cooking.
- Rayford Steele and the surviving remnant of Petra in Glorious Appearing from the Left Behind series was like Praise The Lord And Pass The Popcorn while he was watching the Antichrist's armies getting decimated by Jesus Christ. In the Dramatic Audio presentation, he even mentions that all he needs is the popcorn.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush", Anya reacts this way to Giles' mimed overhead-projector lecture about the Gentlemen.
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Thanks for the Memory", Rimmer is shocked to learn what Lister did to him, and comments that it is the most degrading thing he's ever experienced. At which point Cat leans over and offers him some popcorn.
- In Tales of the Gold Monkey, Jake gets in a fight with a visitor and the following exchange ensues.
Sarah: (to Louie) Do something!
Louie: (to Gushie) Forty francs on Jake.
- It is a common occurrence during the show's many bar brawls, too.
- Hannah Montana does this a few times:
- Lilly, watching Miley's Slap Slap Kiss argument with Jake. When they finally kiss, she flies out of her chair.
- Jackson and Lilly both share a bowl of popcorn while watching Mamaw and Aunt Dolly have a brutal catfight.
- Jon Stewart occasionally does this on The Daily Show, when the news gets really interesting. This is usually followed with Jon hilariously saying "Go oooooooooon!" Sometimes he'll also do a Spit Take.
- Nahum, the janitor in Slings and Arrows, watches the show's production of Macbeth on a backstage monitor with popcorn.
- On Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike briefly leaves the theater during the opening of Wild World of Batwoman and returns with popcorn and other snacks.
- The Junior Mint episode takes this farther than it may have ever gone before in Kramer's reactions to observing surgery. Before he even gets there he's worried about people telling him what happens, he complains to one of the surgeons who's blocking his view, and of course he brings in a box of Junior Mints and tries to get Jerry to take one, with predictably unfortunate results.
- Similar occurrence in "The Mango" when George orders a chocolate milkshake and a slice of cake upon discovering that Elaine "faked" with Jerry.
- An episode of The West Wing opens with Sam getting his head handed to him by Blonde Republican Sex Kitten Ainsley Hayes on a live television show. As the show goes to break, Sam mutters "please, oh please, don't let them be watching". Smash Cut to:
- A variation in one episode: J.D. and Dr. Cox get into an argument with Jordan nearby. Jordan grins and says, "Oh, I should leave," and then sits down to watch.
- In an early episode, Elliot and Carla are squaring off to fight when The Todd runs up shouting "Ladies, ladies!" They pause, he sits down in a front row seat, then says "Continue." Epic grudge match ensues.
- An episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun has everyone but Dick accidentally tapping into a neighbor's phone conversations about her souring love life, and starting to treat it as a soap opera. When they meet the woman, they react as if they were meeting an actor of a soap opera they enjoy, to her great confusion. Then Harry starting chatting with her, and without the fighting, Sally and Tommy complained that the show was boring.
- In Eureka, Fargo hacks the cameras observing a contained environment experiment. The customers of Cafe' Diem treat it as a reality show, complete with water-cooler style discussion. That a lizard man is running loose in the environment is a "plot twist".
- Rachel gives Ross permission to hit on Isabella Rosselini when she comes into the coffeehouse:
Monica: Rach, are you really gonna let him do this?
Rachel: Honey, he's about to go hit on Isabella Rosselini. I'm just sorry we don't got popcorn.
- In another episode, when Ross and Rachel are about to have a discussion, they ask Phoebe to leave. Phoebe says "Okay" then sits down right next to them, smiling eagerly. When the ensuing argument peters out to nothing, Phoebe gets annoyed: "That's it? You call that a fight! C'mon "We were on a break!" "No, we weren't!" What happened to you two?"
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn And The Wasp" Donna can't stop munching on grapes and enjoying the hell out of the Doctor's and Agatha Christie's explanation of their solving of the murder mystery du jour.
- The detectives on The Closer often enjoy remotely watching interrogations, sometimes with food.
- In an episode of Will and Grace, Grace discovers that she can hear her downstairs neighbors perfectly through the floor vent. She and Will spend the rest of the episode ignoring everything else so they can catch the soap-opera-like show (wife arguing with husband, cheating on him with his brother, etc.).
- Mash: Margaret steals Hawkeye's and B.J.'s clothes while they are showering. The two are forced to walk back to their tent naked, wherein they find the nurses staked out, waiting for them (with popcorn).
- Done hilariously in Power Rangers RPM. Ziggy and Dillon are both in prison, being interrogated, and the scene switches between the two. Dillon's is very serious—they think (justifiably) that he's a spy. Ziggy, meanwhile, is telling his life story (with diagrams on a dry-erase board). Each time they switch to Ziggy, there are more guards there listening. By the time he reaches the part where he accidentally went to school without any pants on (not a dream!), at least one guard has spontaneously produced a tub of popcorn.
- An earlier example is from Power Rangers Time Force. Though in this one, Jen is lecturing three Rangers on some recent fights while said Rangers are secretly passing around a bowl of popcorn before Jen figures out what's going on.
- Still earlier: In "Good as Gold", the final episode of Power Rangers Zeo, Rita and Zedd sit on the sidelines enjoying sodas (or possibly cocktails, it's hard to tell because of the colored drinking glasses) as they watch the giant King Mondo and giant Power Rangers duke it out.
- In Corner Gas, after Lacey confronts Karen about having just borrowed her house to watch a scary movie in, Brent comments on how there should be some scary movie playing, Emma and Lacey, who already had popcorn because they were watching the movie, watch the standoff and eat some popcorn.
- In the CSI episode where one of the lab workers presents the "Lab Rats" board game, one scenario has himself committing an overly elaborate suicide on video. There is a scene with the whole lab and field team watching the video, eating popcorn, and cheering when the bullet hits.
- Castle does this a few times.
- In one episode, Castle remarks, "a wife and fiancée catfight? Please tell me we can stop for popcorn along the way."
- In an earlier episode, the beat cops are chasing around a whole mess of crazies run around in the precinct, Castle is munching on popcorn, and Beckett is calmly doing paperwork.
- Then there was the one where Beckett uses dominatrix psychology to interrogate a suspect.
- The Father Ted episode "Night of the Nearly Dead" has Ted, Dougal, and Patsy all frantically trying to beat the horde of middle-aged women off Eoin McLove. Father Jack pulls up a chair and a drink.
- Eliot is on a date (as part of a con) with Nate's ex-wife Maggie, and the rest of the team is watching via video surveillance. Sophie even has popcorn. Maggie makes a series of disparaging comments about Nate, then reveals that she knew he was watching all along.
- Later in the same episode, Nate is munching what looks like popcorn while watching museum security work themselves into a lather over several false leads.
- A Monkees episode has three band members robbing a bank after being tricked into thinking they're making a movie. When the police present them with the film from the surveillance cameras as evidence, they treat it as an actual movie, complete with being critical about their performance and popcorn.
- Abed on Community not only does this (with Rasinettes), but even gives cues to the players so they know how to proceed cinematically.
- In The IT Crowd episode "Something Happens", Moss is quite visibly seen eating popcorn while listening to Douglas's stories of how Spaceology works for him. Later, he brings out the popcorn when Roy discusses a problem with a masseuse.
- The team members, Tony in particular, tend to treat any suspect interrogation as a show that they watch from behind the tainted glass—especially when done by Gibbs. Uncluding one episode where Ziva is tasked to bring the popcorn, although she's late.
- Abby is also seen sitting before the screen of her face-recognition software and watching it work with pop-corn and caffeinated drink.
Abby: That's the best part.
- In the first season of How I Met Your Mother, Ted gets drunk and everyone tries to find out what the hell he did that night. Marshall gets so excited he has to go make popcorn.
- An episode of Two and A Half Men involved Charlie meeting an ex-girlfriend of his who has since become a man and partway into the episode starts dating his mother. While there are various reactions to this news, Charlie's housekeeper Berta is unique in that she isn't squicked out at all, instead finding it all too hilarious.
- In Century City, Lee May is researching a marriage contract, which her associate Darwin negotiated 8 years ago. His hair is ridiculous, he's enthusiastic, and he cares about the couple he's negotiating with. Cue the next scene being the entire law firm eating popcorn while watching the video.
- When Lane challenges Pete to a fight in Mad Men, this is Roger's reaction.
"I know cooler heads should prevail, but am I the only one who wants to see this?"
- Alanis Morissette's "Front Row" makes a reference to this in the song's chorus:
I'm in the front row
the front row
I get to see you see you close up.
- Aesop Rock's "Gun For The Whole Family" makes frequent reference to simply sitting back idly while two sides of a conflict kill each other. Exactly how big those two sides are varies from verse to verse, but frequent references are made to viewing the whole spectacle, rooting for neither side in particular and, yes, doing so while eating popcorn. A small excerpt:
And I was overly engrossed from a very locked door
with a couple Milk Duds and buckets of popcorn.
- ESPN.com's humor section, Page 2, has taken a single comment made by Terrell Owens that seemed to reference this trope and put it through Memetic Mutation, culminating in a faux A Day in The Life article in which his meals all had something to do with either "pop" (Pop Rocks, for example) or "corn". (Surprisingly, the breakfast section of this omitted the cereal "Corn Pops".)
- Some forums have a :popcorn: smilie. It is used almost exclusively in response to someone posting a controversial thread or by witnesses to an intense on-forum argument.
- An animated GIF of Michael Jackson eating popcorn from Thriller often shows up in similar circumstances.
- An animated GIF of The Joker from Batman the Animated Series is often used too. It's from "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne", where Hugo Strange is auctioning the secret of Batman's identity (on video tape) to Joker, Two-Face, and Penguin.
- There's also this animated GIF of Stephen Colbert eating popcorn while wearing 3-D glasses.
- Cleolinda Jones has this reaction in her review of Breaking Dawn when it looks like Bella is about to find out that former love interest Jacob has imprinted upon her newborn.
- Many Shadowrun sourcebooks are framed as in-universe on-line documents, usually posted on a "site" called Shadowland, and as such are invariably annotated with discussions about the "main" text by and among various readers/site-members. In the third-edition sourcebook Cyberpirates, for instance, one such discussion degenerates into a lengthy argument (and finally a testosterone-induced challenge) between two posters; when site-admin Captain Chaos promptly disconnects them both so others can keep reading in peace, a third poster cries out "Hey, frag off, CC: I'm selling tickets to that show!"
- Cyrano De Bergerac: They don't eat anything, but the audience of the Burgundy Theater is pretty excited to see Cyrano's exploits:
- First, when Cyrano literally kicks a Bore's ass and engages in Volleying Insults with Viscount de Valvert, the play notes say:
(The people begin to go out, while Cyrano looks on with satisfaction. But the crowd soon stop on hearing the following scene, and remain where they are. The women, who, with their mantles on, are already standing up in the boxes, stop to listen, and finally reseat themselves.)
- Later, there is a Sword Fight between Cyrano and Viscount de Valvert, the play notes said:
THE HOUSE: (in great excitement) Give room! — Good sport! — Make place! — Fair play! — No noise!
(Tableau. A circle of curious spectators in the pit; the marquises and officers mingled with the common people; the pages climbing on each other's shoulders to see better. All the women standing up in the boxes. To the right, De Guiche and his retinue. Left, Le Bret, Ragueneau, Cyrano, etc.)
- Puck's attitude toward the events of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
And so far am I glad it so did sort,
As this their jangling I esteem a sport.
- Tranio enjoys the confrontation between Katherina, Baptista, and Bianca's suitors in the opening scene of The Taming of the Shrew.
Husht, master! here's some good pastime toward,
That wench is stark mad or wonderful froward.
- Dr. Nefarious does this when watching Captain Qwark fight through his minions in one of the 2.5D sidescrolling missions in Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal.
- In Mass Effect 2, immediately after Shepard completes Miranda or Jack's loyalty mission (so that s/he's completed both), Joker informs Shepard that Miranda and Jack are about to come to blows in Miranda's office. "Take pictures!" Joker requests.
- In Dragon Age II, near the end of chapter 2 Aveline and Isabela seem like they are about to come to blows, when Silly!Hawke arrives:
Hawke: Are there any good seats left?
- If the player is a mage and on friendly terms with Anders, he'll talk about how Hawke's the kind of leader the mages of Kirkwall need during Act 2. Snarky-Hawke's response is "Who said anything about leading? I was going to watch...with snacks."
- World of Warcraft
- Ragged John, a dwarf with no lack of subtlety to his character, offers to tell you about the time he and his friend fought off incrementally larger hordes of orcs. Naturally, you egg him on with this line:
Ragged John: Let me grab the popped corn kernels, sire.
- Also, if you attack the shivarra boss Dalliah in the Arcatraz, her wrathguard "friend" Soccothrates says the following:
Soccothrates: Have you come to kill Dalliah? Can I watch?
- Bernkastel and Lambdadelta are often seen eating popcorn in Umineko no Naku Koro ni, particularly in the core arcs. Subverted a few times by Lambdadelta, as she uses the popcorn to influence certain fights, despite having to stay neutral.
- Questionable Content: Penelope reacts this way to Dora yelling at Faye for sleeping with Sven. Everyone in the strip tends to do this metaphorically when witnessing anyone else's drama. There isn't usually popcorn, but they do tend to be amused by it.
- This scene (with Cat Fight) from Loserz.
- Zii brings popcorn to another couple's lovemaking in Ménage à 3.
- Sluggy Freelance
- Riff takes a slightly relaxed attitude towards major revelations about hauntings in his house in this strip.
- And used "straight" (albeit lampshaded) in this strip, when two scantily-clad women are fighting. Also an example of Wondrous Ladies' Room, as apparently, all ladies rooms come with popcorn dispensers for just such a purpose.
- In Twokinds, Karen, one of Trace's old friends, hits Trace on the head with a pebble and can be seen cheering on the sidelines with a couch, a banner, and some popcorn, saying she wants to see bloodshed.
- The Order of the Stick:
Belkar: Do you think I have time to get popcorn??
- Xykon, the Monster, and the Demon-roaches watch Redcloak fight Miko. Only the Monster actually eats popcorn (seeing as Xykon's incapable of eating), with the rest of them betting on the outcome of the fight.
- Three fiends watching Vaarsuvius fight a dragon, one of them actually eating popcorn.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has this here.
- In the nudist webcomic The Bare Pit, Mungo eats popcorn while watching the drama unfold.
Mungo: Hey, don't stop! This stuff is heaps better than Days of Our Lives.
- Darths and Droids
- This scene, where Jim attempts to roleplay girl talk with himself.
- This is also Pete's reaction when Annie and Jim decide to talk about their relationship instead of gaming. Ben reacts... somewhat differently.
- In Grim Tales from Down Below, Clockworks—the Anthropomorphic Personification of time—breaks out the popcorn here. Little Miss Badass descends on a pillar of light to challenge a Kaiju-level monster with a sword? Definitely worth watching.
- This strip of Irregular Webcomic Sadly, Deaths don't eat.
- User Friendly: Certain characters interacting will always mean popcorn.
- Sinfest loves this.
- Yosuke, Teddie and the protagonist of Persona 4 do it in this fancomic when Chie meets her Shadow.
- Girl Genius:
- Boris and Gil are having tea and pretzels while sending a Jäger to test out a rogue clank.
Boris: You see, Herr Baron. Entertaining, but harmless.
- Snaug eats popcorn while watching Tarvek and Gil about to fight.
- And again... "AGATHA! You're missing the show."
- The current trope image is from Lackadaisy, after Mitzi turns a photo booth session with Sedgewick into a make-out scene. In the 1920's, those things didn't have curtains.
- Averted: In this strip of Lego-based webcomic Shepherds Flight, James is seen to have left a room with a highly entertaining argument in it, in order to relax somewhere quieter.
- Schlock Mercenary
- There was a live reality-TV show that involves insulting people's wardrobe. They pick Elf as their victim. Schlock, who is still onboard the ship, sees the leadup and tells the captain what is going on. Tagon's reaction? To run to the TV to watch, stating that he can't possibly get down there in time to solve the problem, so he might as well watch the fireworks. Cops don't react... in part, because they're busy watching this over and over in slo-mo and laughing.
- Schlock volunteers to deliver some for the team.
- Kevyn wanted a bowl of hot popcorn when delivering to their Esspererin "partners" news about 400 million megaton yield impact at their quasi-planetary body (which the Toughs could not prevent because a rogue faction of the local Esspees was boarding their ships at the time) spraying debris all over the place, including in their direction.
- Invoked in this Two Lumps comic.
- In The Whiteboard, Bandit and Roger enjoy a bowl of popcorn while listening to Doc smash the heck out of a telemarketer.
- In the beginning of Meat Shield, the dark elves watching the protagonists through a crystal ball are enjoying popcorn and pork rinds.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, Floyd Fitznewski's first appearance was eating popcorn while Bob and Roofus fought the Pirates of Ipecac. He even shared some with Voluptua, who was confident that Bob wouldn't need her help.
- In the "Poltergeist in the Piano" arc for Pibgorn, by Brooke McEldowney, Dru watches the confrontation between the Vampire and Mr Trudge (his minion) from a nearby tree branch, saying, "Buttered popcorn, I could really use some buttered popcorn."
- When Mark Zuckerberg challenges [dead link] the Dark Lord of PayPal to a duel for a spot in Cabal of Evil Visionaries that Rule the Computer Industry in Help Desk
Steve: I'll just go make some popcorn, shall I?
- In Sinfest, Squidley's first reaction to seeing the Devil and Crimney square off.
- Norway does the popcorn-eating thing with fish in this Scandinavia and The World comic.
- Vexxarr has Carl claiming to order popcorn when a higher-ranking Bleen tried to depose the captain.
- In Servants of the Imperium Magos Einklatch decided to make some popcorn before hearing the assassin's story.
- In one episode of The Red Panda Adventures, our heroes are watching from above as their agents beat up some neighborhood thugs.
Flying Squirrel: So what do we do now?
Red Panda: I brought popcorn.
Flying Squirrel: ... You're serious?
Red Panda: I'm always serious. But today, I also have popcorn.
- In That Guy With The Glasses-related shows:
- In the Anniversary Brawl, Spoony gets That Chick With The Goggles to trade opponents so he fights Bennett the Sage while she fights The Nostalgia Chick. The guys fake fighting for a few seconds, then pull out cellphones and snap pictures of the (off-screen) Cat Fight.
- Bargo eats popcorn while watching Sonya fight in the Mortal Kombat Annihilation review.
- Half of Sage's The Ultimate Teacher review is him eating popcorn while showing random clips of the movie.
- In Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara runs off to make popcorn in the middle of his Silent Hill: Dead/Alive review when it looks like the annoying, obscenity-spouting Christabella is going to get her just desserts.
- There's a moment of this at the end of the SCP Foundation tale, Duke Till Dawn.
- Happens in "Parasites Lost". When Zoidberg investigates Fry's bowels with a surgical camera, everybody goes into a side-room with a video-screen and two-way mirror and... eats popcorn.
Hermes: It's nauseating, mon! (takes another handful of popcorn)
- Also, Bender remarks at Zoidberg's Supreme Court trial in "A Taste of Freedom" that "Court's kinda fun when it's not my ass on the line. Nachos?"
- "Roswell that Ends Well" actually works the popcorn in as a plot point. Fry goes to microwave the popcorn for everyone to eat while they watch the supernova. The radiation from the microwave interacts with the radiation from the supernova and creates a time hole.
- Done a few times in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy:
- When Double-D and Eddy find Ed raiding another kid's fridge while sleepwalking. Double-D even asks, "Are you going to share those?"
- And in a season 2 episode where they want to watch a movie marathon. Ed had snacks stuck to his leg. He tried to offer one to his friends, but their collective disgust was to be expected.
Ed: Snack for Double D?
Edd: Stop, wait! I couldn't, not before Eddy.
Ed: Snack for my guest!
Eddy: (squints) It's hairy, Ed!
- And of course, Eddy's memetic "Popcorn Fairy" line.
- And in the season five finale, where Eddy is eating a series of hot dogs whilst watching a match between Double-D and Jimmy, eventually even throwing them at Jimmy. Double-D even asks at one point where Eddy gets all the hot dogs from.
- In the "Arabian Desert Danger" episode of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, the Hooded Claw eats popcorn while watching Penelope get wrapped up like a mummy.
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: Phil Ken Sebben, while watching Birdman being strapped into the electric chair, casually eats popcorn and even feeds a piece to his arm-candy ladyfriend. Though sort of justified in that Harvey's trial, imprisonment, and pending execution are all part of the set-up for his surprise party, though his in-prison marriage to Magilla Gorilla is not. But honestly, Phil would have had the popcorn at a real execution. That's who he is.
- Family Guy
- One episode has Peter about to explain (i.e. lie) to Lois about how he gave up their reservation at Cheezy Charlie's for Stewie's birthday party. Brian says, "Hang on a minute", leaves, returns with a chair, sits down to watch and then says, "These are always classic."
- In another episode, Stewie goes upstairs to give Lois and Brian some privacy. He then returns to sit at the top of the stairs, watching through the bars of the bannister, munching snacks, and injecting comments like, "Oh, my God, no way!" and "Ooh, bitch, you got jacked, bitch!"
- In the Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Challenge of the Superfriends", Eduardo mostly follows the action with a bowl of cereal. He even speaks surprisedly to the camera after The Twist.
- At one point in Justice League, the Joker eats popcorn, and offers a captive Batman some, while he waits for their headquarters to blow up. He does it again in "Wild Cards"—fitting, since he was broadcasting the episode's events as his own Show Within a Show.
Joker: (to Batman, who is tied up) Popcorn?
Joker: Oh, well. More for me.
- The Fairly OddParents:
- The Pixies have done it when their plans were succeeding and Timmy was miserable. However, considering their anti-fun natures, it came out weird.
HP: Hi Turner. Don't mind us. We're just here for the show.
Sanderson: Your misery is like going to the movies for us. Want some popcorn?
HP: Its unsalted and unbuttered, right?
Sanderson: And unpopped.
Timmy: Look, a child in pain!
Crocker: Where!? (Sits in a chair facing the direction Timmy pointed and starts eating popcorn.)
- The Titans East manage to produce some hammerspace popcorn for Control Freak's rant in Teen Titans. In a later episode, Kid Flash eats a hoagie and a bag of potato chips (which he stole from Mammoth) while watching the Hive Five argue with each other. What makes it even better is that Kid Flash was in a cage at the time. While the Hive Five were arguing, he ran out of the cage to get the hoagie, and then got back into the cage so that he could watch the argument. And then did it again to get the bag of chips.
- On an episode of Batman Beyond, Terry argues with his girlfriend. A couple of their friends eat snacks and watch.
- South Park has Cartman covering for Butters (who was grounded but was forced to leave the house) and while there answering regular phone calls from Butters' parents (being able to convincingly imitate Butters). He proceeds to tell off his parents and swearing at them. Eventually Butters returns just in time and Cartman leaves. After that he sets up a lawn chair and grabs a drink and some popcorn and sits on the front lawn as Butter's parents get home and storm in, so he can listen to them giving Butters a royal beatdown.
- The Shredder (1987 version) and Krang can be seen doing this in Turtles Forever, as they watch the 2003 Shredder wreaking havoc upon Manhattan with the Technodrome.
- On Metalocalypse, the members of Dethklok attend Pickles's brother's wedding just for the inevitable moment where Pickles loses it and starts whaling on his loser mooch brother Seth.
Nathan: This is great. This is some good drama.
Murderface: You can't pay for this. It's like an eclipse or something, it's just, you gotta be there.
- Peter Puppy does this in an episode of the Earthworm Jim. "Better than pro wrestling!"
- This occurs in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where Squidward tells SpongeBob a ghost story (although instead of popcorn, SpongeBob uses his own arms).
- The Simpsons
- In episode "'Round Springfield", Homer has hot dogs while watching a surgery, and later a funeral. The hot dog man admits that he's following Homer around.
Hot Dog Vendor: Hot dogs! Get your hot dogs here!
Marge: Are you following my husband around?
Hot Dog Vendor: Lady, he's putting my kids through college!
- In "Rosebud", Maggie doesn't want to give Bobo away, so Homer won't give the teddy bear back to Mr. Burns. He is later watched at work by three men. The first mentions they wanted to see the geek who valued the happiness of his children more than money. The second is disappointed his head isn't the size of a baseball. The third just eats his popcorn.
- In G.I. Joe, when Cobra Commander's sillier-than-usual mechanical sea serpent scheme goes awry, Tomax, Xamot, Destro, and The Baroness are munching on fresh fruit and drinking milk as they are watching the whole ridiculous crisis on TV as they discuss how they are going to respond. They agree to hang back, let GI Joe and its related organizations hopefully exhaust themselves bringing the machine down, and then move in.
- In the hour-long special for Total Drama Island Josh and Blaineley are eating popcorn while watching the Total Drama cast on their inherently deadly quest to beat the Total Drama Dirtbags' bus to Orpah's studio.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Music Day", everyone is accusing each other of farting and a food fight starts. Buster and Babs just sit back, share a bag of popcorn, and watch the hectic scene.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mai watches an epidemic erupting in the city of Omashu and offers fireflakes to her dad (who is supposed to run the city).
- Used in an episode of Chowder. While Mung gets chewed out for forgetting his wedding anniversary, Shnitzel sits down on a stool in the background with a bag of popcorn, enjoying the show. He even interjects with an "OOH! Radda!"
- The Superhero Episode of Jimmy Two Shoes has Jimmy, Beezy, and Heloise all having a fight over who gets to save Lucius from the monster beating him. The resulting conflict is so entertaining that Lucius and said monster stop fighting and enjoy it over popcorn.
- Phineas and Ferb: In "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted", Baljeet munches popcorn while watching a propaganda film designed to brainwash kids into behaving themselves, and says "The book was so much better."
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
- In "Applebuck Season", Rarity and Fluttershy nervously watch Applejack try to stop a stampeding herd of cows, but the happy-go-lucky Pinkie Pie just munches popcorn and says "This is the best rodeo show I've ever seen!"
- In the second season premiere, "The Return of Harmony", the Chaos God Discord sits in a theater seat with a bag of popcorn to watch Twilight Sparkle's Brainwashed friends bickering. For bonus points, there's actually a reasonable explanation for where he got them.
- In "The Cutie Pox", Spike eats popcorn as he watches Apple Bloom compulsively perform various talents (thanks to the eponymous "Cutie Pox").
- On a Very Special Episode of Clone High, Ponce de Leon dies in a tragic litter related accident. His best friend, JFK, falls apart during his speech at Ponce's funeral. It is so dramatic, the other attendees watch silently and intently, with Julius Caesar breaking out a bag of popcorn.
- On the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien episode "Prisoner #775 Is Missing", as Rath is ranting at a ship that's flying away with him clinging to the underside:
- The Animals of Farthing Wood watch on as Fox and Vixen get chased by a fox hunting party. Adder remarks how exciting it is and Weasel tries to place bets on whether or not Vixen will get away.
- Gunther from Kick Buttowski does this in Box Office Blitz... during the commercials before the movie even starts. Long before it even starts.
- In the Re Boot episode "The TIFF", a group of binomes watch Bob and Dot having an argument, and one of them is eating popcorn.
- * In the Daria episode, "The Teachings of Don Jake", Jake snaps thanks to a financial issue and suffers from a broken blood vessel to his eyes. Daria tells Helen to take Jake's medicine, while telling Quinn to get the camera.
- During the height of the Rod Blagojevich hoopla, both Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow broke out the popcorn on their respective shows while airing clips of a press conference.
- Congress sold tickets to Andrew Johnson's impeachment trial.
- During the First Battle of Bull Run/Manassas, a number of people from the nearby towns brought picnic baskets to watch the battle. They started running once the Union soldiers ran right into them trying to escape the pursuing Confederates.
- Whenever another an incumbent president is up for president, he can have some popcorn while his opponents duke it out against each other in the primaries as he plans his beat whoever wins
- then-governor of the state of Illinois