Comedy (or drama) in confined spaces.
September 21, 2018 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to write a script involving a group of characters in a confined space but I am struggling to work out how to advance the plot and move the story along. I could really do with some examples.

Hello.

Could you recommend any films or single episodes of a comedy or drama series that involve a group of people in a very confined space?

When I say confined, I mean exclusively in one room or in a car but not, for example, an office (unless it's one cubicle).

They can be trapped or they can be there out of choice, I don't mind.

Bonus points if there is no cutting to an external/additional space. I feel that will be impossible, however so I'll take whatever you have.

Thanks very much.
posted by ihaveyourfoot to Media & Arts (44 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Archer, season 6 episode 5
posted by flabdablet at 11:52 AM on September 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


In this episode of Friends, everyone is trapped in Monica's room listening to Ross & Rachel fight in the living room. It's actually really good!
posted by something something at 11:52 AM on September 21, 2018


The term you want to search for is "bottle episode."

I don't remember the episode exactly so I can't remember if it took place in a single room, but I know Community did one.

Seinfeld famously did an episode waiting in line at a Chinese restaurant.
posted by bondcliff at 11:53 AM on September 21, 2018 [13 favorites]


From TV Tropes: Having a baby in an elevator.
posted by Melismata at 11:54 AM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


12 Angry Men takes place almost entirely (except for 3 minutes) in a jury room.
posted by belladonna at 11:58 AM on September 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


Linklater made a film called Tape that takes place in a motel room in real time.
posted by vunder at 12:00 PM on September 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


First episode of Inside No. 9 did this for a wardrobe.
posted by Bardolph at 12:01 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Homicide: Life on the Street "Three Men and Adena"
posted by acidnova at 12:02 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


British TV does this a lot.

The Smoking Room had two series, 17 episodes, all set in the titular room.

Him & Her, set entirely in a tiny flat (bedroom, kitchen, and tiny entryway. A few scenes filmed in the stairwell)

Marion & Geoff was shot entirely from a fixed camera in a car. But despite the two names in the title it's a one-man show where other characters are implied but not seen
posted by Gortuk at 12:04 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


No Exit
Death Knocks
Two plays, a drama and a comedy about death, both take place fully in one room.
posted by SaltySalticid at 12:09 PM on September 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


This IMDB list might be helpful.
posted by clawsoon at 12:09 PM on September 21, 2018


Roy Andersson My favorite is the pane of glass. Masterpiece.
posted by effluvia at 12:12 PM on September 21, 2018


Doctor Who’s season 4 episode 10, Midnight!
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:19 PM on September 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Awesome! Thanks! There's lots to watch here. If you have any more suggestions, please add them! :)
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 12:19 PM on September 21, 2018


Some of the original Twilight Zone episodes: Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room, Five Characters in Search of an Exit, probably some others.
posted by sageleaf at 12:22 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


LIfeboat
posted by cazoo at 12:22 PM on September 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


My Dinner with Andre - two friends have dinner together and talk. That's it. But it has forward motion and a climax without any action at all.
posted by muddgirl at 12:23 PM on September 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Du Levande Darker comedy. Roy Andersson as well.
posted by effluvia at 12:23 PM on September 21, 2018


"Sardines", the pilot episode of Inside No. 9. Everyone is confined inside a wardrobe during a game of hide and seek.
posted by cazoo at 12:28 PM on September 21, 2018


The Booth at the End
Circle (it's on Netflix here)
posted by Wobbuffet at 12:29 PM on September 21, 2018


It's been a while since I last read/saw it, but isn't Waiting for Godot entirely set on "A country road. A tree. Evening"? It's very existentially confined, anyway.
posted by praemunire at 12:31 PM on September 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


I can’t believe these three have been missed...

Hitchcock’s LIFEBOAT is the master class in this genre.

I’m going to throw in Tarantino’s Hateful Eight and Reservoir Dogs, the Hateful more than Dogs, but both qualify imho.
posted by jbenben at 12:39 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Fly on Breaking Bad
posted by KateViolet at 12:41 PM on September 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wkipedia has some examples too
posted by KateViolet at 12:44 PM on September 21, 2018


The entirety of an excellent Locke is set in a car.

"Almost the entire film takes place within a BMW X5, which was pulled down the M6 motorway on a low flatbed trailer for most of the shoot. Shooting took place in real time, over just eight nights, with the crew only taking breaks to change the three cameras' memory cards. Ivan Locke is the only character to appear onscreen; the others are only heard on the vehicle's speakerphone, with their parts also recorded in real time (Locke's vehicle and road noise included) as they called from a conference room that served as the multiple "locations" of the various characters."
posted by ringu0 at 1:03 PM on September 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Gang Goes to Hell, Part 2. Season 11, episode 10.

In the first part, the gang is on a cruise ship, and one by one, they get sent to the brig. Part 2 of the episode has them stuck in a locked brig. Link above has a great synopsis.
posted by hydra77 at 1:41 PM on September 21, 2018


Episode 4 of series 3 of the UK show One Foot In The Grave: The Beast In The Cage.
posted by misteraitch at 1:49 PM on September 21, 2018


The Bureau is a relatively confined space imho.
posted by poseathon at 2:04 PM on September 21, 2018


The original play of Bus Stop takes place entirely in the diner.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 2:10 PM on September 21, 2018


Take a look at the original script for Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage (made into the film Carnage). The play is an excellent dark comedy; it features two couples and takes place entirely in the living room of one couple's apartment.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:38 PM on September 21, 2018


ALSO CUJO.

Also, REPULSION w/ Catherine Deneuve if you think of the enclosed space as her phobia that drives the story.
posted by jbenben at 2:50 PM on September 21, 2018


The Smoking Room, from 2004-05, is a comedy set almost entirely in one room -- I don't remember it ever going anywhere else, though it may have done. I thought it was really underrated. YouTube link here
posted by finisterre at 3:36 PM on September 21, 2018


Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
posted by Little Dawn at 4:41 PM on September 21, 2018


I'm reading this article about solving murders on Mars and the author draws a comparison to the "locked-room" crime story. It may give you some food for thought.
posted by bendy at 5:04 PM on September 21, 2018


If you're at all interested in audio instead of television — plenty of British audio dramas are like this. John Finnemore's Cabin Pressure, for instance.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 5:25 PM on September 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


There’s a whole TV Tropes page about the bottle episode concept mentioned above.
posted by deludingmyself at 5:28 PM on September 21, 2018


A lot of plays also fit this bill. They will often be listed as "unit set" when looking through catalogues* since theaters without wing space need plays without set changes

*this is not a perfect 1 to 1 correspondence, but it's a solid starting point.
posted by DebetEsse at 6:29 PM on September 21, 2018


i believe Hitchcock's Rope all takes place in one room of an apartment
posted by askmehow at 6:29 PM on September 21, 2018


A couple of 70s dramedy-sitcoms had classic bottle episodes. MASH did a tense episode set in a cave (It's on Daily Motion, for now,) while All in the Family had the unforgettable "shoe-booty" episode. (Also on Daily Motion.) I know Mad About You did an episode where the couple was stuck in a bathroom the whole time, although I've never seen it so I can't say if it's good. And then there's this famous scene from A Night at the Opera.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:25 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Devil is a horror movie set in an elevator.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:42 PM on September 21, 2018




Cube and End Game and Night on Earth all come to mind. They all have elements that extend beyond the set, though.
posted by eotvos at 10:14 AM on September 22, 2018


I'm not sure if this is quite what you're after, but in the TV show Supernatural, Episode 4 of S11, "Baby", is filmed essentially from the perspective of their car. (By that point in the show, the Impala is basically it's own character.) The reason I'm not sure if it would quite work for you is that the characters occasionally leave the car, but everything is still filmed from within the car. (It's also a really well done episode, fwiw.) But maybe it still works for what you're interested in, since the filming of the episode is limited to the car.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:33 PM on September 22, 2018


It's my opinion that the early aughts sitcom "That's My Bush" had the best trapped episode of all time. It's even called, "Trapped in a Small Environment." Couldn't find it with a quick google search, though.
posted by frecklefaerie at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2018


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