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-   -   Cliches you'd like to see subverted (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=815451)

Malleus, Incus, Stapes! 01-04-2017 05:41 PM

Cliches you'd like to see subverted
 
Character A decides to believe Character B: "Either she was a professional actor, or she was telling the truth."

Just once, for a change, when A makes that sort of statement, I'd like B to turn out to be a professional actor.

Grrr! 01-04-2017 05:52 PM

In sci-fi shows: When main character says "I saw this crazy thing!" the rest of the characters default positions should NOT be: "Oh you're just tired, stressed, or seeing things"

After all the crazy shit you guys have seen in previous episodes, maybe you might want to entertain the idea that said person actually did see said crazy thing!

Jennshark 01-04-2017 06:03 PM

Instead of detectives with awful personal issues, I'd like to have a police character who is happy and well adjusted.

ZPG Zealot 01-04-2017 06:28 PM

Beautiful successful woman falls for unattractive, unsuccessful guy because he is nice (defined as doesn't commit major felonies and does minimal damage to her life). This cliche needs to die.

Sefton 01-04-2017 06:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malleus, Incus, Stapes! (Post 19896623)
Just once, for a change, when A makes that sort of statement, I'd like B to turn out to be a professional actor.

Hey fellas, that lady isn't a Charlize Theron look-alike. That's really Charlize Theron in our police station! No wonder we believed every word she said!

bibliophage 01-04-2017 07:01 PM

Just for once, I'd like to see a movie where the big corporation and the people who run it are the good guys. The only examples I can think of off the top of my head are Schindler's List and the made-for-TV movie On Wings of Eagles, both based on true stories.

Dendarii Dame 01-04-2017 07:15 PM

I'd like to see a murder mystery in which the suspects are a televangelist, a CEO of a giant pharmaceutical company, and a couple of other "go to" villains, plus one guy who just got out of prison after doing 20 years for murder. And the ex-con did it.

enalzi 01-04-2017 07:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malleus, Incus, Stapes! (Post 19896623)
Character A decides to believe Character B: "Either she was a professional actor, or she was telling the truth."

Just once, for a change, when A makes that sort of statement, I'd like B to turn out to be a professional actor.

Can you give an example of this one, because I don't think I've ever seen this before.

Jeff Lichtman 01-04-2017 07:22 PM

The lone wolf who sees the truth even though no one believes him should turn out to be completely wrong.

The man and woman who dislike each other at the beginning of the story should hate each other the whole way through.

The martial arts expert who finds himself surrounded by thugs should get the crap beaten out of him.

The motorcycle rider who leads the cops on a long chase should take off his helmet at the end and be revealed to be a man.

When the hero learns the location of the person he is trying to rescue, he should call the police rather than drive at high speeds for miles to get there himself.

alphaboi867 01-04-2017 07:30 PM

I'd like to see a stay at home mother get knocked on the head and wake in an alternate reality where she's a successful childfree career woman; she decides like's the alternate reality better. Also how about a movie where main character has to return to the small town where they grew, and has a bunch of experiences that only serve to remind them why they moved away from their family to the city in the first place? Or one where a devout Christian goes through a major life or family crisis, and when it's all over realizes there is no God and embraces Atheism. :cool:

Shagnasty 01-04-2017 07:31 PM

I want to see a really smart kid from the inner city that also happens to be excellent at sports have to choose a path in life. His parents and teachers convince him to pursue an academic path because that is the road less traveled where he is from. Unfortunately, he gets pushed down the stairs at school by some gang members and suffers a traumatic brain injury that drops his IQ by 40 points. All is not lost though. He is still a great football wide receiver and makes it all the way through college on a football scholarship and then into the NFL. The pro years don't last though and he runs out of money so he moves back to his old neighborhood and starts a gang of his own. Ta-Da!

Morbo 01-04-2017 07:33 PM

"Hello, you have called computer expert character. You will notice my thick silly glasses, messy workspace, Sci-Fi desk trinkets, currently-in-motion Newton's Cradle, funny posters and craazy nerd shirt! I'll solve your problem using a backdoor Microsoft Ethernet GUI Linux IP! Give me ten seconds and I will pound the shit out of my keyboard into a DOS window without using a mouse while saying a famous movie line that has no relevance! That's no Moon, that's a Space Station! I'm in!"

Quercus alba 01-04-2017 07:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malleus, Incus, Stapes! (Post 19896623)
Character A decides to believe Character B: "Either she was a professional actor, or she was telling the truth."

Just once, for a change, when A makes that sort of statement, I'd like B to turn out to be a professional actor.

SPOILER:
Wasn't that essentially the plot of Ex Machina?

Leo Krupe 01-04-2017 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sefton (Post 19896761)
Hey fellas, that lady isn't a Charlize Theron look-alike. That's really Charlize Theron in our police station! No wonder we believed every word she said!

Quote:

Ed Exley: Shut up! A hooker cut to look like Lana Turner is still a hooker.

Johnny Stompanato: Hey!

Ed Exley: She just looks like Lana Turner.

Jack Vincennes: She *is* Lana Turner.

Ed Exley: [stunned] What?

Jack Vincennes: She *is* Lana Turner.
:D

Patx2 01-04-2017 07:48 PM

I would like to see characters not go down the basement or up in the attic when they hear the strange noise during the storm when the power is out.

Morbo 01-04-2017 07:48 PM

::jumps in cab:: "Follow that car - he's getting away!"

"That car? That Audi S8 doing an 11 second quarter-mile? There is absolutely no way this cab will possibly catch up to him or even be able to tell which streets he has turned onto by now."

----

"Zoom in and enhance!"

"Zoom in on this low resolution rasterized screenshot from a grainy security camera...and 'enhance' it?"

"Just do it!"

"OK, here you go."

Malleus, Incus, Stapes! 01-04-2017 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enalzi (Post 19896844)
Can you give an example of this one, because I don't think I've ever seen this before.

I can't think of any specific examples off the top of my head, but I've seen it a lot (with varying wording). The viewpoint character states that no one can act that well, and this is a signal from the author that B is really on the up-and-up.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quercus alba (Post 19896887)
SPOILER:
Wasn't that essentially the plot of Ex Machina?

I don't know, I never saw it.

The Other Waldo Pepper 01-04-2017 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Malleus, Incus, Stapes! (Post 19897005)
I can't think of any specific examples off the top of my head, but I've seen it a lot (with varying wording). The viewpoint character states that no one can act that well, and this is a signal from the author that B is really on the up-and-up.

Of course, the only time someone ever says "nobody's that good an actor" on screen, someone is literally being that good an actor -- right then -- just over there.

RealityChuck 01-04-2017 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman (Post 19896850)
The lone wolf who sees the truth even though no one believes him should turn out to be completely wrong.

Done over a century ago by E. C. Bentley in Trent's Last Case.

Lemur866 01-04-2017 09:20 PM

The hero is holding a Mook at gunpoint, but can't have the guy give the alarm. So he hits him on the back of the head to knock him out. And the Mook collapses on the floor...screaming in agony and thrashing like a guy who just got a very painful injury. Later the hero sees the mook in the hospital where he is suffering from severe permanent neurological damage and will spend the rest of his life in an assisted living group home.

Dale Sams 01-04-2017 09:40 PM

Prime Directive violated, everyone admits it was violated (As opposed to The Apple) and....things turn out for the better instead of the most immediate thing that could go possibly go wrong does.

Miller 01-04-2017 11:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bibliophage (Post 19896807)
Just for once, I'd like to see a movie where the big corporation and the people who run it are the good guys. The only examples I can think of off the top of my head are Schindler's List and the made-for-TV movie On Wings of Eagles, both based on true stories.

All I've got are Robin Williams' Toys and anything based off the work of Ayn Rand.

Terminus Est 01-05-2017 12:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jennshark (Post 19896667)
Instead of detectives with awful personal issues, I'd like to have a police character who is happy and well adjusted.

Peter Burke, the main FBI agent in White Collar, was portrayed as happily married (to Tiffani Thiessen, no less!) and never, ever had any personal drama.

Bryan Ekers 01-05-2017 01:39 AM

Hero's sidekick: "[Hero], don't kill [defeated bad guy]! You'll be just as bad as he is!"

Hero goes ahead and kills bad guy, suffers no lasting psychological damage or loss of moral center.

AK84 01-05-2017 02:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 19897104)
The hero is holding a Mook at gunpoint, but can't have the guy give the alarm. So he hits him on the back of the head to knock him out. And the Mook collapses on the floor...screaming in agony and thrashing like a guy who just got a very painful injury. Later the hero sees the mook in the hospital where he is suffering from severe permanent neurological damage and will spend the rest of his life in an assisted living group home.

One of the Austin Powers movies showed the effects of nameless mooks deaths on their families.

Biotop 01-05-2017 03:34 AM

Dog is clueless about evil force nearby.

JKellyMap 01-05-2017 04:13 AM

Hero (usually for this purpose the father, but sometimes the mother) whose wife and/or child DOESN'T complain that he's never home/never spends enough quality time with the spouse and/or child(ren).

ftg 01-05-2017 08:48 AM

I'd like to see a sitcom that has as a running gag sitcom-trope subversions. E.g.,

Early in the episode the low end worker tells the boss his mom is coming to town and he's been telling her that he's really the boss. Could the boss switch positions with him when his mother visits? The boss agrees.

When the mom shows up the boss says: "You're kid's been lying to you the whole time, he's just the janitor." and walks away.

Throw something like that in every now and then. Hopefully this would force the writers to never, ever, reuse one of these hackneyed old plots for real.

If the show is successful, it would raise audience awareness of this nonsense and other shows would stop reusing this stuff.

MrAtoz 01-05-2017 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morbo (Post 19896918)
::jumps in cab:: "Follow that car - he's getting away!"

"That car? That Audi S8 doing an 11 second quarter-mile? There is absolutely no way this cab will possibly catch up to him or even be able to tell which streets he has turned onto by now."

I have a vague memory of watching something--I want to say it was a sitcom--where a character is telling his friends about an experience, and says:

"So I jumped into a cab and shouted, 'Follow that car!'" Slight pause. "Turns out, they won't really do that." Big yucks from the audience.

Does this scene sound familiar to anyone? I'd swear that it's real, and not something I made up, but I can't remember what show it might be from.

psychonaut 01-05-2017 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grrr! (Post 19896642)
In sci-fi shows: When main character says "I saw this crazy thing!" the rest of the characters default positions should NOT be: "Oh you're just tired, stressed, or seeing things"

After all the crazy shit you guys have seen in previous episodes, maybe you might want to entertain the idea that said person actually did see said crazy thing!

Already subverted in the fourth-season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Remember Me". People on the ship start mysteriously disappearing—as in, being completely erased from existence, including from the memories of other crew members—and Dr. Crusher is the only one who notices. She reports the problem to Captain Picard, who, while skeptical, does not outright disbelieve her, and orders an investigation. He continues to support Crusher's theory even though, to all outward appearances, she is delusional.

This cliché subversion was notable enough that it recently got written up in an feminist essay by Mirah Curzer: Star Trek’s Feminist Statement: Believe Women.

Left Hand of Dorkness 01-05-2017 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZPG Zealot (Post 19896720)
Beautiful successful woman falls for unattractive, unsuccessful guy because he is nice (defined as doesn't commit major felonies and does minimal damage to her life). This cliche needs to die.

The Princess and the Tin Box, by James Thurber :).

Mangetout 01-05-2017 09:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jennshark (Post 19896667)
Instead of detectives with awful personal issues, I'd like to have a police character who is happy and well adjusted.

I think there have been a few of those...

DI Barnaby in Midsomer Murders seems fairly well-adjusted - maybe a little stressed at times
Chief Superintendent Foyle in Foyle's War - quiet, honest, well-mannered, scrupulous
Columbo (OK, so he was scruffy and a smoker, but he seems likeable enough)
Miss Marple (Not police, but well-mannered in the later stories at least)

Bayard 01-05-2017 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mangetout (Post 19897740)
Chief Superintendent Foyle in Foyle's War - quiet, honest, well-mannered, scrupulous

I hope this isn't a hijack, but I loved that show. Foyle was such a great character. I love how Michael Kitchen can do so much with a little change of facial expression. When he just kind of moves the corner of his mouth a little and you know he's already got it all figured out. That is just so cool. Even when Foyle was thoroughly pissed off, he was still completely in control.

Annie-Xmas 01-05-2017 09:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jennshark (Post 19896667)
Instead of detectives with awful personal issues, I'd like to have a police character who is happy and well adjusted.

Steve Carella of Ed McBain's 87th Precient mysteries comes to mind.

I'd like to see someone who figures out who the killer is and calls the cops, instead of confronting them alone in a deserted place.

zamboniracer 01-05-2017 02:59 PM

In a typical action movie foot-chase scene, neither the pursued nor the pursuer is ever even the slighted bit out of breath when it is over. I'd like to see Jason Bourne on his knees puking his guts out after his next big chase.

Similarly, in automobile chase scenes, the ordinary cars crash into each other and walls and barriers and just keep going, like they are all the Batmobile on steroids. I'd like to see some of those cars on Triple-A tow trucks after the carnage is over.

Sangahyando 01-05-2017 03:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jennshark (Post 19896667)
Instead of detectives with awful personal issues, I'd like to have a police character who is happy and well adjusted.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mangetout (Post 19897740)
I think there have been a few of those...

DI Barnaby in Midsomer Murders seems fairly well-adjusted - maybe a little stressed at times
Chief Superintendent Foyle in Foyle's War - quiet, honest, well-mannered, scrupulous
Columbo (OK, so he was scruffy and a smoker, but he seems likeable enough)
Miss Marple (Not police, but well-mannered in the later stories at least)

I'd add: Faye Kellerman's Police Lieutenant Peter Decker. His personal history is wildly and crazily complicated -- he's Jewish, but he isn't, but after all he is -- "functionally", though, he seems to have a mostly-happy marriage, and to be a loving husband / father / stepfather.

Bayard 01-05-2017 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zamboniracer (Post 19898803)
In a typical action movie foot-chase scene, neither the pursued nor the pursuer is ever even the slighted bit out of breath when it is over. I'd like to see Jason Bourne on his knees puking his guts out after his next big chase.

An episode of The Rockford Files ended with a long chase through the Hoover Dam. Two guys in dress shoes and jackets running through concrete tubes. At the end, Rockford and the other guy collapse in exhaustion. Rockford can barely gasp out, "Gotcha" before motioning the other guy to sit down.

Terrible quality video here: https://youtu.be/BdxBfrvx-e4?t=3146

Munch 01-05-2017 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quercus alba (Post 19896887)
SPOILER:
Wasn't that essentially the plot of Ex Machina?

No, it's more like the plot of...
SPOILER:

Wait, you actually clicked on this? Why? You have no idea if the movie I was going to mention was a movie you've actually seen, and I've provided zero clue as to what this spoiler might contain - just like your spoiler box.

BrotherCadfael 01-05-2017 03:46 PM

Police Chief: We've got some kinda monster out there! Four people have been killed, we've got to close the beach!

Mayor: Well, it will really hammer our tourist business and make those developers who are looking to invest nervous, but, you're right. Close the beach.

Dallas Jones 01-05-2017 04:03 PM

The bomb detonates with the digital clock still reading time left as 2:43.

And all the wires in the bomb are the same color when the bomb squad opens it up.

Dendarii Dame 01-05-2017 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dallas Jones (Post 19899007)
The bomb detonates with the digital clock still reading time left as 2:43.

And all the wires in the bomb are the same color when the bomb squad opens it up.

In the pilot to the 2016 reboot of MacGyver, this happens. He saves the day anyway.

Steve MB 01-05-2017 04:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dallas Jones (Post 19899007)
The bomb detonates with the digital clock still reading time left as 2:43.

Or, better yet, forget the whole "countdown" thing:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kim Possible, "Rappin' Drakken"
Dr. Drakken: While Shego keeps you busy, I shall launch my Hypertronic Devastator Drone! (pushes the button)
Kim: Wait, no countdown?
Shego: No, no, he's actually learning.
Dr. Drakken: During the time it takes the computer voice to count backwards from ten, you always manage to defeat me. Not anymore!

Quote:

And all the wires in the bomb are the same color when the bomb squad opens it up.
There was a version of that in Batman: Assault on Arkham -- when Batman opened up the Joker's dirty bomb, it had a note "Cut The Red Wire" and a tangle of all-red wires.

Annie-Xmas 01-05-2017 04:30 PM

A criminal who does not tell the good guy his entire life of crime before he attempts and fails to kill him.

mbh 01-05-2017 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemur866 (Post 19897104)
The hero is holding a Mook at gunpoint, but can't have the guy give the alarm. So he hits him on the back of the head to knock him out. And the Mook collapses on the floor...screaming in agony and thrashing like a guy who just got a very painful injury. Later the hero sees the mook in the hospital where he is suffering from severe permanent neurological damage and will spend the rest of his life in an assisted living group home.

In Morons from Outer Space, the aliens are trying to escape from an army base. One of them sneaks up behind a sentry, and conks him on the head with a blunt instrument. The guard drops to his knees . . . and starts screaming, "Ow! What did you do that for?"

Not a good movie, but that scene made me laugh.

SciFiSam 01-05-2017 04:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Terminus Est (Post 19897377)
Peter Burke, the main FBI agent in White Collar, was portrayed as happily married (to Tiffani Thiessen, no less!) and never, ever had any personal drama.

Not really notable - he's a Watson character. He's the sidekick. Sidekicks are usually normal for the times they live in. I don't know what Jennshark intended, but for me it would be the main character, the person who could not be written out. Otherwise you have a wealth of secondary characters who have nice family lives but could, if it came to it, not be a part of the show.

Marple and Columbo come close but in the former she is not an everywoman and the latter his family are hidden.

Quote:

Originally Posted by psychonaut (Post 19897733)
Already subverted in the fourth-season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Remember Me". People on the ship start mysteriously disappearing—as in, being completely erased from existence, including from the memories of other crew members—and Dr. Crusher is the only one who notices. She reports the problem to Captain Picard, who, while skeptical, does not outright disbelieve her, and orders an investigation. He continues to support Crusher's theory even though, to all outward appearances, she is delusional.

This cliché subversion was notable enough that it recently got written up in an feminist essay by Mirah Curzer: Star Trek’s Feminist Statement: Believe Women.

I watched that episode just a couple of weeks ago. I never noticed anything feminist about it - that it was a woman noticing the disappearances and a man believing her - but that's a point in its favour, IMO.

Barbarian 01-05-2017 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeff Lichtman (Post 19896850)
The motorcycle rider who leads the cops on a long chase should take off his helmet at the end and be revealed to be a man.

A similar scene happened in the short-lived and cancelled mini-series Drive.

It turned to be a senior citizen with a beard under the black helmet with the tinted visor.

psychonaut 01-05-2017 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mbh (Post 19899080)
In Morons from Outer Space, the aliens are trying to escape from an army base. One of them sneaks up behind a sentry, and conks him on the head with a blunt instrument. The guard drops to his knees . . . and starts screaming, "Ow! What did you do that for?"

Not a good movie, but that scene made me laugh.

Was that the only one? I always liked the part where Bernard sneezes in his space suit.

Anyway, that entire movie basically subverts the cliché of superintelligent aliens visiting the Earth. There aren't many stupid aliens in sci-fi—the only other exception that comes to mind is the Pakleds from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

psychonaut 01-05-2017 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SciFiSam (Post 19899126)
I watched that episode just a couple of weeks ago. I never noticed anything feminist about it - that it was a woman noticing the disappearances and a man believing her - but that's a point in its favour, IMO.

My thoughts exactly.

Malthus 01-05-2017 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zamboniracer (Post 19898803)
In a typical action movie foot-chase scene, neither the pursued nor the pursuer is ever even the slighted bit out of breath when it is over. I'd like to see Jason Bourne on his knees puking his guts out after his next big chase.

This happened in Repo Man. The hero ran as hard as he could (chasing a car on foot); he ends up on his knees, puking.

enalzi 01-05-2017 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers (Post 19897416)
Hero's sidekick: "[Hero], don't kill [defeated bad guy]! You'll be just as bad as he is!"

Hero goes ahead and kills bad guy, suffers no lasting psychological damage or loss of moral center.

Deadpool.

Also sort of on Firefly:
Mal: Sure. It would be humiliating. Having to lie there while the better man refuses to spill your blood. Mercy is the mark of a great man.
*stab*
Mal: Guess I'm just a good man.
*stab*
Mal: Well, I'm all right.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dallas Jones (Post 19899007)

And all the wires in the bomb are the same color when the bomb squad opens it up.

Did it on Family Guy. I think this might be the most subverted trope.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftg (Post 19897720)
I'd like to see a sitcom that has as a running gag sitcom-trope subversions. E.g.,

Early in the episode the low end worker tells the boss his mom is coming to town and he's been telling her that he's really the boss. Could the boss switch positions with him when his mother visits? The boss agrees.

When the mom shows up the boss says: "You're kid's been lying to you the whole time, he's just the janitor." and walks away.

Throw something like that in every now and then. Hopefully this would force the writers to never, ever, reuse one of these hackneyed old plots for real.

If the show is successful, it would raise audience awareness of this nonsense and other shows would stop reusing this stuff.

This is another one that I can't imagine being a trope. Any examples of this one?


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