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Good writing advice I've heard before: if your character is urgently driving somewhere and you need them to not make it in time, don't have them stop for a burger, instead have them break the speed limit and get pulled over for it. Both are mistakes, but the latter is understandable and consistent with their motivation, while the former is just stupid.
Or like Iketani from Initial D, after realizing he's been acting stupid and trying to get to his girl in time gets unfortunately stuck in traffic. It wouldn't have happened if he wasn't stupid, but it was also consistent with his character flaws and made sense.
@Max B or a story about food addiction.
@Sergio Leonardo Cornejo goku would totally stop for food while being chased
Yeah, the former there literally only works if your character is Homer Simpson
@Sophia Laird or the store is closed due to understaffing
“The problem with an idiot plot is not, as one might think, that the plot involves characters acting dumb. The problem is when it makes us question if the author is also dumb.” What a wonderful way to end and sum things up.
Or worse, where the audience gets the impression the author thinks the _audience_ is dumb.
Agreed, such a masterful way to end it. It's the type of line you think up at some point before finishing the script and you immediately know you gotta save it for the end.
@Lisää Nimi Unfortunately this is sort of a thing where the authors/showrunners make poor decisions and distinctions between an idiot plot and an idiot ball. A character can only act on what their personality and their knowledge permits, this is what enables an idiot plot to take place.An idiot ball, however, enables a character to do something very out of character in order to drive the plot.Some may get defensive about it, but ultimately when you can point to a scene where multiple people are passing the idiot ball around like it's a hot potato, the writing and direction has fumbled hard no matter the excuses made.
Modern Hollywood writing in a nutshell… well, one of the problems.
@Critter Keeper I'd say it's more an example of Jane being stupid again than anything else. She doesn't actually know him that well, she drops her previous fiance of two years at the time to start dating him. This is because that guy didn't want to raise someone else's baby, but pretended that he did to spare her feelings. She's doesn't get upset that he's uncomfortable raising another man's baby, but that he "lied to her about it." Knowing that lie was explicitly for her benefit. If I'm not mistaken, as she carries on her new relationship the dude lies to her several times and she is never called on her BS about this.All of it is pretty stupid, most of it's supposed to be, but "in a fun way" but it definitely had the most truly forced love triangle ever. It's a stupid relationship that hobbles along beating every involved character with the stupid-stick along the way.
Unfortunately it’s become rather clear that all of us are living inside an idiot plot, which is extremely frustrating. I hope we get better writers soon.
yeah but at least things generally work out well when I come up with and carry out stupid ideas so yay me I guess?we definitely need better writers.
@KopperNeoman don't need the WEF for that.Just rich people in general
@KopperNeoman Someone's been watching too much Alex Jones.
@Gloomy Scribbles *twirls my evil mustache*And im happy to fill the role..*evil laugh*
I remember hearing something about how if Othello and Hamlet swapped places, their stories would be resolved.Hamlet would see Iago's bullshit immediately because he is careful and clever.If Othello's dead father told him to kill his step dad, the play would be over in about 5 minutes.Idiot plots really do work when it's because a character is just *being themselves* in a situation where being themselves is probably the worst option
Red literally mentioned that in the tragedies trope talk 😂I don’t think she came up with it but she talked about it
Othello wouldn't kill his step-dad. He'd kill EVERYBODY. Ghosts are NOT a trustworthy source of information, and he automatically get his father's murderer.
Now I need a musical version of these two characters meeting and resolving each other's conflicts. Get on it, Broadway!
and that's no longer idiot plot, that's classic tragedy. them. being themself is the sin
@Blokewood3 true. The prophecy kinda requires him to do some murdering. BUT I do think it’d be way funnier if he just… didn’t try. Macbeth comedy rewrite where he’s totally fine just being thane of cawdor and is actively avoiding becoming king but shit just keeps happening to force him closer and closer to becoming king.
Superman: You don’t understand! You have to listen to me! Please, hear me out! (Extends Hand rather than knocks him back) Batman: (somewhat perplexed) About what? Superman: Luthor is holding my mother hostage. He’s forcing this whole situation. Batman: What? That bastard! Superman: So please, help me save her. Please help save my mother Martha. Batman: Ma-MARTHA? That was my mother’s name too! Okay, he’s going down, NOW! Superman and Batman proceed to defeat Luthor. No giant fight with Doomsday, no silly nonsense about a Kryptonite spear. Wonder Woman: … why am I here again? Aquaman, popping out of a puddle: To set up a sequel. Wonder Woman: Oh, okay.
superman in other media - gets weak by touching kryptonite dustsnyder's superman - gets weak by kryptonite but not really becaue a goddamn kryptonite spear in his hand is held firmlyalso one of those stupid comics had superman simply knock away the spear...
"Wait, why didn't Timmy just wish his friend to safety?""Oops. I forgot to give him back his common sense."
the way i still remember this episode 😭😭😭
"Whatever you do, don't jump!"
@PixelKnight Yeah, it's a lot funnier to see directly, and I omitted a lot of the wackier details, but yes, quite a funny scenario. I didn't even mention Timmy's satisfying and hilarious way of getting back at Cosmo for not listening to his "Cosmo wait" when Cosmo finally gave him back his emotions at the worst possible time.
@Balanc-Joy918 lmao that's gold
@PixelKnight It's from the episode _Emotion Commotion_ where Timmy wishes all of his emotions to be taken out, and at the very end, he's facing the bizarre scenario of needing to rescue Trixie Tang and Chester (who she's dating for revenge, but girls give him the hives) from a diabolical mastermind, and to do so has to dive into a piranha-infested lagoon and go through a maze of death traps and hazards after that to rescue them. His lack of emotions would've made it easy (no fear to make him hesitate or other emotions to get in the way of making the most logical decisions), but Cosmo gives them back right then, and he jumps, which leads to what *assassintwinat8* quoted, with Wanda asking the question of why Timmy didn't just wish things to be fixed, and Cosmo explaining what part of Timmy he didn't give back. Timmy's Common Sense then says "Whatever you do don't jump!"
One of my favorite "idiot plot" characters has to be Jinx from Arcane. She makes probably the absolute worst decisions at every point imaginable.What makes her so great is how the authors masterfully build her path into making these bad decisions, making her one of the most sympathetic characters ever, despite how terrible her choices always are
Honestly, all of my favorite characters are the self-destructive ones who make all the worst possible decisions and leave you wailing at the screen "CATRAA NOOOOOOO"
Everyone in Arcane makes choices consistent with their information and characterization. No one has an idiot ball. Vi and Jayce are idiots sometimes, but there aren't any idiot balls in play. A good example is Jayce backing down from Vi... The writers wanted a fight, but then they had to face the fact that it wasn't consistent with the characters. So they forwent the fight. And bravo to them for it.
I think it could be argued that Jinx is overall the least idiot of them all, but since she is always being manipulated or not told crucial information, she couldn't have done better with the data she had.In contrast, almost all the other characters are either badasses that can kick everyone's asses, are the ones in control/the ones manipulating, or both. So they are bigger idiots than jinx, even if still well written idiots.
Half the cast from Arcane qualifies, honestly. Jayce, Vi, Heimerdinger, Ekko and plenty others all make stupid and/or unhelpful decisions that make perfect sense because of their backstories and personalities. And it's part of what makes the show great.
When I saw Batman v. Superman, I resolved the fight immediately. Luthor said 'If you kill me...she dies. If you fly away...she dies.' Okay...how about if I grab YOU, fly you to Batman...the WORLD'S GREATEST DETECTIVE... and say 'This creep has kidnapped my mom to force me to fight you and we have 58 minutes to find her.'
@Jordan M Warner Brothers wanted Justice League fast and they wanted DCEU to be a new better MCU than being it's pwn thing. So studio decided that they are rushing the story. Decision was made some time after Man of Steel, so logic was more less: "Snyder made a grittier Superman already, so instead of making a reboot once more let's shock the world with BvS and from there we can made a Justice League". and it was a bold move. And I mean BOLD. So bold in fact than Marvel went ballistic and rushed their own Civil War. But Marvel had well established characters while DCEU had none besides a proto-Superman. And Snyder had to pack a lot of story in one film, so much in fact, he could only hind at some things. And I agree, that if there was a one more movie before BvS, a movie showing how Batman slowly goes in the abyss (probably film about Joker killing Robin), would make DCEU feeling much more cohesive and Batfleck behaviour far more understandable.
@Hadar1991 my opinion, if the wanted to do that future broken batman, they could have at least show more hints flashbacks, to what made him like that, general audiences don't know much of the backstory that broke batman, only comic fans, so yeah people would be confused, instead of having Lex Jr and the flash forward dreams maybe flashbacks and more character development for both of them could have made for a better movie.
@Jordan M 'Oh....so he can use guns....and he's ok with killing, are we sure this is actually Batman?'This is a problem with modern fans not the character. Batman used to carry a 1911, Batman used to lynch people, Superman only stopped killing people after he killed an alternate world version of Zod. Fans seem to get fixated on this one interpretation of a character that existed in this one point of that characters history and are totally blind to all the character progression before or after that point.
@Hadar1991 I'll agree to a certain point. Older jaded Bats can happen, but right off the bat(heh) in the first appearance we see of him in this universe? One of Batmans defining character traits is his unwavering convictions, and thats who we expect when we see him for the first time. It doesn't feel like a subversion of expectations, it feels like 'Oh....so he can use guns....and he's ok with killing, are we sure this is *actually* Batman?'Also, when the majority of your audience agrees the Martha scene is dumb, then you probably did it wrong XD. At the very least the line should have been 'Save....My mother' or something like that, still hits Bats in the trauma and humanizes Supes while being a perfectly understandable reaction. 'WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME' like ok Bruce, do you just get ptsd flashbacks every time you hear the name Martha?
@Steven Stice No, I did not say that. This Batman is not Batman anymore. He has lost his ways after (I presume Joker) killed Robin. In BvS we are seeing broken Batman, who is more like Punisher than Batman, but he still believes he is Batman. The realization comes when dying Superman is not begging for his live, but to save other person. And it is the moment that Batman snaps, that he became the monster, he became the villain, and he even did not saw the moment. As ZSJS is sorry of Superman's resurrection as BvS is story of about Batman's resurrection.
"Drop in a little forced conflict and let them fight over a shared love interest..."A LOVE TRIANGLE!
That is some truly Terrible Writing Advice
Tee Double yew ae, a terrible way to write
Bet you all read that in Jeff's voice too!
I got that reference!
Hamlet can be described as being so smart that he wraps around to being stupid.
Reading Hamlet in class I was amazed at how well written Hamlet can be... Like it blows my mind that in the 1600s they made the main character of a tragedy be so trope savy that he ends up conforming to those tropes anyway
He's kind of the ur-example of an overeducated idiot. I'm always amused by the Shakespeare scholars that try to twist Fortinbras into a violent psycho (if they acknowledge him at all) instead of admitting that his chief role in the play is to make Hamlet look bad by comparison.
As flawed as he was, poor hamlet didn’t catch a break.
"Too smart for his own good"
I used to get a lot more frustrated with idiot plots in stories. Then I started DMing in D&D. Forget about abilities and resources that would instantly solve this problem? Choose the absolute dumbest possible option available that causes everything to go sideways? Completely ignore or misinterpret the obvious hints thrown at them? Seen them all. And done some myself on the other side of the screen. It's helped me be sympathetic that people actually can and do act that way. Never underestimate your player's ingenuity or their stupidity.
"I headlock the cyborg" was a running joke in my friendgroup for awhile. I wanted to tease a big bad, so I had a pair of cybernetically-enhanced people drop into a ludicrously difficult fight and resolve it, teasing that there were bigger, worse things out there and that the players need to be careful who they engage and what they assume.As the cyborgs were leaving, one of the players interjected, "I headlock the cyborg."They had a lovely coastal funeral and his second character was a great deal more careful.
There's also a difference between forgetting an ability a character has written down on a sheet of paper you look at once a week, and a person forgetting their own abilities. In universe, a character wouldn't forget their powers. In real life, players forgetting a bit of text is completely understandable.
One of my players in Tomb of Annihilation immediately sussed out that the disk with eyes moving on it should be covered up by a blanket to prevent a trap. They then attacked the nearby corpses, activating the trap anyway
@oiSnowy thats why its good to have characters with flaws, so your consistent in the idiot plot
My entire group just waltzed into a town taken over by evil sentient giant rats. We were offered two groups we could go to for help, and we forgot about one and "democratically elected" to ignore the other. We also forgot that some of the scout rats got away during our first encounter, so all our assurances that we were sneaking were useless. Then one of us assured the rest of us that if things went wrong, we could totally escape across the river, which we forgot was poisonous. And my own character, with the background of a Sailor, would have remembered that rats can swim so this very mode of escape is useless, too. Our DM was visibly frustrated with us.
This reminds me that Persona 4 Arena used a little trick to avoid the idiot plot, the main villian was actively maintaining a perception filter to manipulate what each character heard the other say in order to provoke a fight and keep them from being able to talk things out, as soon as it's gone they start immediately working to bypass the rules of the main villain's tournament setup
@LegalAssassin Good point, the story did it's best to paint them being completely up against the wall at this point and desperate for any advantage they could get, which was exactly what Akechi wanted to exploit. The thieves were also paranoid at this point about how they had walked right Into the enemy's first trap with Medjed and Okumaru. And alot of discussions at the time have them agonizing over how their options have completely dried up to make a counter attack.
@DanceswithBlades5 TBF, even without them knowing that Akechi is bad, I don't think I can call them acting like idiots. They were in a bad place and while they clearly didn't trust Akechi, they acknowledged that there wasn't another way out without him exposing them. So for anyone who didn't catch on to their secret plan, the Phantom Thieves reluctantly working with him is less "they're being stupid" and more "it's not a good idea, but they don't have much choice."
I quite liked how P4A forced the main characters to fight each other
@Jorge Emilio I especially like the twist because the way the twist is set up it implies the main character was on to him the entire time, completely recontextualizing all their previous interactions
@Jorge Emilio Oh yeah that one's basically a reverse idiot plot, where the heros pretend to be the ifiots in the idiot plot but actually outplayed him.
Surprised they talked about the Cap and Iron Man fight in Civil War but not the far more controversial Star-Lord attacking Thanos scene from Infinity War. With the latter, previous knowledge about how impulsive Peter can be, but without it, it just looks like he was about to save the day and then immediately doomed half the universe.
Civil War lost me from the first with that stupid presentation by general Ross that a retarded baboon could have refuted and then threw my remaining belief away when Tony just completely blew off Steve's revelation about the other winter soldiers.
@Bolt From The Blue it’s a subjective argument so that’s totally valid
@MrChidumebi3 I dunno, I think it’s fair for a general rational character to get big mad about a few topics, enough or override their rationality. There are plenty of people like that. That said, you can absolutely say it’s super cliched to use parental death to act as that hot button topic, because it very much is.
It isn't just Peter being impulsiveWe expect to see Doctor strange carefully plot out this timeline down to a logical conclusion. He sees 17 million universes and only one success, how? I could think of half a dozen ways to create a success there at least, and almost all of them involve not sitting around waiting for Thanos to show up.I personally ascribe to the theory that Dr. Strange saw multiple, maybe even hundreds of universes where this rag tag group kills Thanos, however down the line some point a new Thanos rises up, learns from the mistakes of the previous one, and successfully collects the stones and wipes out the Avengers who cannot restore those that were lost from this. Or maybe he saw a continuing war for the stones that ultimately was worse than Thanos actually snapping once and leaving it at that.I think that Dr. Strange knew that Peter's impulsivity would make them lose the battle, but win the war, because now the stones are destroyed, the stones they used to fix everything were taken back to their original timelines, the universe is restored back... mostly, and a new Thanos doesn't have a stone to stand on and would have to do everything manually, slowing them down considerably. That sounds like a winning condition to me.What seems like an idiot plot would instead be a success through counterintuition story.
@Michael Mooney well, let’s look. It’s the reason he’s Ironman. It’s kind of hard to dispute your weapons are being sold to both sides when you’re almost killed by one. However it was the reporter that showed him with evidence it was still happening after the fact. It was then that he went the full mile.In Ironman 2 he was a shit show, but we eventually find out that this is because he’s convinced he’s going to die (he let Rhode have the war machine suit because he trusted him with it) due to his palladium arc reactor poisoning and he believed he had already exhausted every method to fix it, that is until Fury and his father convinced him otherwise. Then he re-synthesized vibranium.His mindset in civil war was the result of Ultron. When that lady showed him a promising young boy who went out of his way to help people before starting college, but died in Sakovia, thats when he realized he couldn’t be trusted to make all the big decisions to how he should use his powers alone. That being said, he believed it was Bucky up until he personally figured out that Bucky had been set up this whole time, then he realized he was wrong. He went to find Cap SPECIFICALLY for this reason. He knew Bucky used to be brainwashed. However when he found out Bucky killed his parents, he snapped. Him snapping isn’t the problem, it’s Steve not being able to convince him to stop trying to KILL that can be debated (again this is subjective, that was Red’s entire point. It really falls down to how you individually feel about someone’s character). Even so, Tony is fully aware that Bucky was not in control, he even asks him do you even remember them. Which, writing wise, is weird because why did he ask that? Tony understood who Bucky was at this point, I can’t stress enough this is literally why he’s even there to begin with. He’s aware that someone else has been pulling the strings. He can’t be asking because he doesn’t know Bucky was brainwashed, he knows. So is he asking Bucky because he knows he’s brainwashed? Well then the whole “I don’t care” angle suddenly becomes an idiot plot. Yeah, he’s pissed but this kind of breaks the reasoning of him needing to KILL Bucky, especially with Steve there. I get his mom died, but it still doesn’t make sense with him being fully aware that Bucky was a literal unwilling puppet. Few more honorable mentions. While Wanda lit the match that led to Ultron, Wanda wasn’t necessarily wrong. Tony realized this. Ultron was a fuck up but Vision was the goal. The goal of Vision would have worked had the events of civil war not had completely destabilized the avengers right before infinity war.Tony actually listened to Peter after Peter warned him about thieves using alien tech (even though Tony could have used better communication about that) Tony was against risking his life again after the birth of his daughter in endgame, but he still looked into it anyways and realized the time heist could actually be done.
I think my favorite Idiot Plots are all in terrible slasher movies. "Don't go upstairs! Don't hide in the closet! You're such an idiot!" shouted at a screen with relish will always be one of my favorite watching experiences. It's an Idiot Plot we all want to happen--not just believe or accept.
you don't cheer for the killer while watching slashers?
@AliceIsGayerThanYou Horror is hard to write, but always has an audience. Even when oversaturated with garbage, it still doesn't get audiences fatigued. Videogames have the same problem with the scares being no-longer scary at some point. Best I have seen is FNAF and RE. FNAF is all tension, and jumpscares that release it are reserved for fail-states. The games are too short to truly master, which helps. RE has a unique solution, where the game has long moments of re-gaining your bearings between tense scares. When you aren't scared anymore, the plot and gameplay are still good, so you power through until you get scared again. Resident Evil without the scares would outclass any horror movie without scares.
i hate this about horror in general especially cuz there's no shortage of mistakes that make sense to make cuz of fear but they always find the one mistake that's to dumb to be cuz fear its just them being beyond stupid
@Bit Newt its not just empathy, most humans do not like conflict. we do it to survive, but most of us dont handle the pressure of killing, or be killed well.
@Marcos Danilo I agree, except I'm pretty sure the reason soldiers have to be taught to kill is because of empathy, not exclusively fear. Some people's fight response will let them defend themselves when they're afraid but most people would rather flee or miss than kill in cold blood.
Best example ever: Every single episode of Flash where Barry somehow forgets he can move at the speed of light.
@BruteMarrow054 “THERES NO WHERE TO RUN”*runs*
Stops to talk instead of stopping them
Wheeee mem go farstt
YES! Thank you for saying it
@GoodFictionFan even the first season was pretty bad. You can just watch the video of madvocate in it
The Flash CW show has that in most episodes. Flash either stops to talk instead of arresting the villain, or he stops using his speed when the bad guy throws a smoke bomb to instantly escape by the power of plot.Among other things.Like that time Barry broke into the Season 4 antagonist's house in civilian clothes and took off his hood for no reason, which ended up being caught on camera.
Yeah, I really wished they had done it like a detective show with superhero stuff once in a while
flash is:- barry is fastest man alive- someone is faster- run barryrepeat in the next episode
@Terry Vanguard Yeah, the fact that Barry has to ask his teammates what to do and all they reply is "Run, Barry, run!" makes Barry look stupid.For someone supposed to be smart and whose power is to be fast, he didn't think about running? Or using his speed in a different way, somehow?Come on.
Yay its why I stopped watching the righting was so badI think the one early on that got me was the steal man.Instead of trying a rope, a net a TAZZER or any kind of tactics for someone whos supposed to he supper smart they just have him run really really fast and punch him in the face.The shows writers are terrible
As an occasional fanfic connoisseur, I see this come up all the time, in both directions. Obviously, armature authors are all the more prone to having characters act in contrived ways just to facilitate a plot, however...Nearly as often (and especially in "fix-fics") an armature author will have characters act in overly rational ways that are just as unrealistic, and more to the point, boring. A story without conflict, where every problem is solved before it can even be a problem, isn't much of a story.
There's an anime called Baka and Test where the brief summary of the setup is that everyone's entrance exams determine where they end up in the school hierarchy. The A students get private valets and professional tutors while the F students get a broken down shack with orange crates to use as desks. The only way to move up the hierarchy is to beat another class in a test-based challenge (which can also take the form of a cool fight scene due to anime shenanigans, because of course it can, but that's not relevant here).Our heroes are the F students and the first main arc follows their attempts to challenge the A students in order to improve their conditions. The show casts them as the plucky underdogs trying to fight back against the system, but I found it hard to sympathize because the show also makes it very clear that, with a few exceptions (which doesn't include the MC), class F is all the screw-ups, slackers, and washouts that brought this upon themselves. Regardless, they come up with an elaborate plan that amounts to "make sure our opponent is this specific A student, then make sure the test is 100 kindergarten-level questions since that student always gets this one specific question wrong, allowing us to beat her 99 with an easy 100".Sure enough they get it all set up, and at the end of the quiz her score comes up as 99. Class F starts to cheer, as their champion's score comes up....68. And just like that everything clicked into place as I realized "oh, that's right, they're all idiots" and had much more fun with the show going forward as I watched all their plans continue to hilariously fail due to them being their own worst enemies. Long story short, it's a show that became vastly better when I realized that the plots were all going to be idiot plots, and that was the point.
It sound too horrible and too real (this comes from someone who was an A student at school)
that anime is legendary. it is worth a watch.
The light novels that the anime was based on are perhaps even better.
Sounds like fun comedy...and icky social commentary?I'll have to learn more.
Oo I think I’m gonna like this show
Since you alluded to Captain America, the real Idiot Ball was Steve not telling Tony about his parents. Fanfic has nitpicked this out a lot, and a lot of Civil War can come off as an Idiot Plot once one is over the initial viewing excitement. (Can you tell I am once again reading post-CW fanfic?)
Why would cap tell him, he didnt know it was bucky who did it.And when do you bring up to someone, hey your parents were murdered 20 years ago. Its not exactly easy conversation.Tony has closer on it but bringing it up is going to open up an old wound, and tonys already been shown in Iron man 1 to impulsive kill people. And in age of ultron take major action out out of emtions (fear creating ultron and vision)Cap also had no way of knowing it would come up everIm more suprised tony didnt find out when black widow leaked the shield document. Thats the only way cap would have knowAnd tony tried hacking shield in avengers, no way he sits back and dosent have Jarvis scan them when he learns hydra was in shield. Especially when he's shown in AOU to help cap defeat hydra
Oooh, see me comment on something explicitly pointed at (by the visuals) after I post my comment. Absolutely a super-hero fight idiot plot.
One thing I love about Hadestown is that “it’s an old song, it’s an old tale, it’s a tragedy”, and yet you can still hear the gasp rip through the theater when he turns around.
Despite saying from the start that the story will end tragically, the show does a really good job of convincing you that it COULD end well just to hammer home that it's a tragedy, of course it doesn't. It builds up the audience like it doesn Eurydice at the same time as it visibly breaks down Orpheus. & it hits every. Time. & THAT is good writing & performance.
@SnackGremlin me re-watching the prequels for their thousandth time and crying over Anakin's betrayal every time
What is it people say is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different result 😟
I don’t remember who said it, but the quote, “I knew it! Is always better then ; Well i didn’t see that coming” Is a great way of summing it up.
Nice reference to The Fool tarot card. :) One of the things that I really liked about Gargoyles was how Xanatos AVOIDED being stupid - running his cunning plans past his people, then listening when they pointed out flaws.
The funny thing is that The Fool doesn't represent stupidity, but lack of experience; except when its reversed (but probably the cut would had been too deep if they had drawn it upside down)
Where was the reference
It's great that you noted this trope as something that isn't necessarily bad, as comedies thrive off of this trope.
So, there’s this one series I was reading about a demon that gets stuck on the material plane. It’s established that she is ferociously intelligent, but keeps doing dumb things because she’s inexperienced. I stopped reading over one specific dumb decision that was entirely in character, and I realise now that it was because I could feel the author pushing.
Believe it or not, Shrek of all films falls into this criteria. Most notably near the end where Shrek overhears Fiona talking about how no one would love a beast so hideous and ugly when she's actually referring to herself. Shrek then leaves after hearing half the conversation. He comes back later and confronts Fiona about what he heard. Another misunderstanding occurs, this time on Fiona's part. Shrek said he heard "Every word", making Fiona think he knows about her secret and is disgusted over her "true" self, when in fact, he believes she is disgusted by him. The genius comes from the fact that both these characters are majorly insecure about themselves, and it makes perfect sense why both would misunderstand the other. "Well, I thought, that wouldn't matter to you...""Well... It does!"A Truly heartbreaking and well written scene from a fantastic film.
Honestly, I'd say Frozen fits the "Tragedy Idiot Plot", save that they just BARELY manage to pull out a happy ending, and it works because they're all acting on things that are shown to be part of their overall characterization (and in several cases, things explicitly shown as something they need to grow beyond).Elsa's freakout is entirely understandable thanks to her parents genuinely wanting to help her but being idiots about it. Anna is desperately lonely, which is both why she falls for Hans and why she runs off after her sister completely unprepared despite the whole "Walking Fimbulwinter" thing. Duke Weaseltown (WESELTON!) is greedy, paranoid about how mysterious Arendelle is, and not that bright, so his idiotic actions make sense in context. Even Hans is driven by his desperation to actually make a name for himself, given the way his entire family treated him.
@Dougie That doesn't sound convincing, The soldier was firing straight at Elsa and if Hans just would have been a second later she would be gone and he would marry a Queen with no interest in politics...Or do you think Hans thought he could actually aim the soldiers crossbow perfectly in a maneuver like that? Not very likely.Nah, what I smell is a script rewrite here but they left this scene in. Maybe the original idea was something like Anna falling in love with the reindeer herder and that turns Hans evil out of jealousy but it make Anna look bad so they changed it to Hans being evil the entire time. Or maybe they originally didn't want a villain but someone at Disney said Disney was most famous for their villains so they turned Hans into one.
@Loke 666 Bit late with this but oh well. I watched the "Everything Great About..." video on this recently and he points out that Hans actually glances up at the chandelier just before he pulls the soldier's crossbow up. He was trying to kill Elsa and still look like the hero.
Frozen is one of the few cases I'll actually defend. People reacted exactly the way she worst feared when she accidentally revealed her powers, and for most of the movie she was just trying to live in isolation and be free, not aware that she'd created an eternal winter
@Foot Long No, from the sister who sang to her every day for more than a decade to ask her - in vain - how she's feeling.
@Alexandre de Souza the same family where she spent most of her childhood being locked away in her room under a constant reminder (whether that was their intention or not from the parents' end) of how dangerous she is to those around her?
I had a script for a task due really soon that I hadn’t worked on at all so I watched trope talks for half an hour and by the end I had so many sarcastic script ideas. I then proceeded to go god mode and write the entire script in an hour. Thank you for assisting me with your rapid-fire snark.
One of my favourite writers of romances made a point that she never writes a plot where the romantic problems could be solved by the two characters actually talking to each other. Makes you realise quite how many romances that doesn't apply to.
I must know who this writer is!
So many plots just in general could be resolved by the characters talking in a situation where they have the opportunity to talk. How many times do we hear someone say "You don't understand" and then fail to do anything to make the other party understand, just because doing so would derail the entire story.
Yes and people will defend it saying that it’s realistic but it’s only realistic to people that are emotionally immature.
@Patrick Hector You are right!
This is why I just don't bother writing smart or politically savy characters who is always two steps ahead of everyone and complex plots. Despite my grades, which aren't bad, I do not have the brains for that kind of mental gymnastics.
Honestly I like listening to these bc they help me take a look at my own projects to see if my characters are being uncharacteristically dumb.Surprisingly they’ve fleshed themselves out more than I was expecting and one guy turned out to be so smart he looked back around to being stupid but hey there! That’s not bad for the number of dudes I’m writing =D
If No Way Home is being used for the idiot ball moment, th only part I feel was dumb was on Strange for not considering that Peter wanted some individuals to still remember him as Spider-man before it began, especially since he considered himself to be someone Peter cared about.though to give the moment a fair chance, I go with the idea that Strange just thought Peter was okay with telling his friends and loved ones who he was and didn't understand that that was something peter wouldn't want to go through again
Besides Shakespeare I would also like to point to Jane Austen as a master of the idiot plot. The whole set up of pride and prejudice is just that simple. Elizabeth hears Mr Darcy says some cruel things and she doesn’t mishears them they are as bad as they sound, but because of her prejudices she lets that one interaction form her entire idea of Mr Darcy which leaves her vulnerable to believing all of Wickhams lies simply because she judges him as better.Darcy on the other hand is too proud to admit he’s just socially awkward and not the best with words, he’s too proud to let himself openly love Elizabeth despite her embarrassing family and even after he understands all the lies Elizabeth has been told he’s still too proud to simply explain himself.Like yes the conflict could have been very easily solved if Darcy and Elizabeth sat down to have an honest conversation about their feelings early on, but then the characters wouldn’t have been Darcy and Elizabeth and the story wouldn’t have been as interesting.
Yes but those books are old and use the social climate they are set in. They just can’t go and talk to each other since they’re usually in different social standings.Darcy is a Duke and is expected to marry the daughter of another Duke, it would even be scandalous if he was to marry the daughter of a baron, which is the lowest form of the nobility. The Bennett’s family are landed gentry, they’re not nobility they’re in the middle class.The only places they’re “allowed” to talk is at large formal events or in passing, even then they’re expected to have someone escorting them. One of them couldn’t just decide to go and see the other.
Persuasion is another Austen story that is a phenomenal example of an idiot plot done right. Anne refused Wentworth's offer of marriage when he went away to make his fortune with the navy, because her surrogate mother persuaded her of the very rational dangers of what would happen if she married him and he died leaving her penniless after severing her connections. She never gets over her feelings for him though, so when he returns a successful captain nine years later she feels she has no right to expect his forgiveness let alone his love. Wentworth is still angry, hurt, and in love with her too. He's already been rejected by her once, so he reasonably believes that she didn't really love him but was fickle and concerned with fortune and title like her father and sisters are. They are constrained in their ability to talk not just by their social circles but by the very thing they need to discuss being so incredibly painful and their fears of being hurt again. So they dance around it, trying to observe one another to make sense of things from a distance while assuming it's over. Their insecurities and assumptions are natural as they fumble around. Ultimately, they each fall further back in love until finally they take the leap to confront their fear and confess their feelings.
@msk true, but I think we should humble ourselves and try to see the idiot plots in our own lives. It's very easy as a book reader to say "silly character, you should have just faced the very thing you were most afraid of facing!", as if we dont avoid facing our own fears and responsibilities. (I'm not trying to attack you here, I'm just saying that in my experience people tend to do this.) These character driven idiot plots are some of the best allegories for individual human lives. Some people live a tragedy, some a comedy, and in many cases it's up to us to determine that. Like in Pride and Prejudice, i think it's so relatable because we've all been somewhere similar, trusting the wrong person against our better judgement or being too proud to admit we were harsh.On another note, I find Jane Austen to be a really excellent writer of deeply human characters, accurately expressing how certain people behave in certain situations, even her side characters. She seemed to understand people really well.
Indeed, you know now that I think about it, a lot of character driven plots have the element of "idiot plot." It's funny how in literature class we end up agreeing this could have all been prevented if one of the involved parties were able to just be honest about something.
Great point. Just read this book this year for the first time and i loved it.
Favorite idiot moment in Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus, one guy falls on a hole and needs to get out; to get him out his friend jumps in the hole. Both men are now stuck in a hole.
"Real stupidity beats artificiell intelligence every time."-from Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Love that Red included that one Assassin’s Creed thing that Blue was ranting about that one time😂
The best idiot plot is probably still in SAO abridged where two akward teens with lacking experience and skills concerning relationships play 'couple chicken' to hide their own inexperience, fears and feelings from each other and try to get the other one to slip up first to go blameless. At the very end of the episode after a small child thing got caught up in the maelstrom of their madness and presumably died, they have one of the greatest exchanges in the show that solves their relationship problem: "Do you think we got married to quickly?" "Yeah, obviously" "Yeah, me too. Do you wanna stay together anyway?" "Yeah, obviously." Yeah me too. Was that the entire conversation?" "I think it was..." "That was SO EASY!" "We are SO STUPID!"
@Shai "Turn out"? Bro, the series' got "Abridged" in the title :Ü™
DOesn't it turn out that the entire show is an idiot plot?
@Joseph Perez And then it turns out that she was just as terrible as them, and was faking her death as a joke.
The legend says that Gary still wants to save his family
"It is okay. You don't need to pretend to love me anymore," is such a heart wrenching line when the kid says it to them. You can practically hear them both mentally screaming what terrible people they are for dragging a child as ammunition into their own emotional issues.
Love the nod to the old sonic the hedgehog comics. Surprisingly has some really compelling writing (sometimes)
I want to see you do a trope talk on being written into a corner, certain established aspects of worldbuilding or character traits makes it so two parts kind of contradict, and you have make a satisfactory way to accommodate for both of them since too much is tied up in simply removing one.
Anyone else absolutely loving the Trope Talk series? Another amazing video, you always do great with these, really enjoying and learning so much from them!! Keep rockin' it Red!!
Can you do an episode on evil clones? It seems like a lot of potential, between "fighting yourself but stronger" or "facing your dark side" or even "evil clone takes place of the hero."
Who hopes Red talks about the “Collective Consciousness” trope, the “Hero being forced to give up” so she can talk about Supergirl, “Rules of Nature” trope, the “PI Antagonist” trope so she has a reason to watch a certain Tarantino film, and the “Scapegoats” trope so she can talk about Queer people and certain 90s video games?
@Thomas Kilmer well the problem with that argument is that the German rearmament in violation of the treaty of Versailles was the result of a lot of things one of which was the radicalization of Germany after the incompetency of the Weimar Republic as well as the French Occupation of the Ruhr Valley. and yes I blame Nazis on the French. the glaring issue with comparing the first order to the Nazis is that this was an overt superweapon, you could not think of this in any other way. An entire planet being used gouged out to be turned into a massive battery for a massive cannon. Even if the galaxy had its fair share of superweapons "Centerpoint station" in the Maw Cluster. They were usually very known to the NR and were completely monitored and it was always treated as a massive issue when someone tried to take control of it.
@Jonathan Dee That one, unfortunately, is all too plausible given historical events. WWII, electric boogaloo, this time with more Nazis, unfortunately did exactly this. Right down to the massive German arms buildup right in front of everyone's faces.
I lately noticed that the Lord of the Rings movies are being shown in cinemas again, with extra shows being added due to high demand.Seems like people are being nostalgic about the time the adaptations used to be good.
Star Wars sequel trilogy in a nutshell. Why is a galactic wide government incapable of fighting a splintered empire when the fact that most of the Alliance was composed by pragmatists? "They didn't want to appear like the Empire so they decided the sector fleets were a viable strategy" well too bad since not every sector is capable of defending themselves from a unified threat. It also puts into perspective why starkiller base wasn't discovered long before it was fired. The Last Jedi is just everything wrong with The Force Awakens dialed up to 11.
I find a lot of romance stories rely on the idiot plot as well. And some do it well enough to ignore it, or make it work for them. But so many Romances seem to think that the only way to have drama and "character growth" is to have these contrived circumstances and massive misunderstandings and leaps of logic. And the worse bit is the characters never try to explain the situation or what happens, and yet most of the time recognize what happened to cause the situation.One of my favorite Romances recently is one I love because it avoids this with honest open communication. It is a webcomic called down to earth. At one point the main male lead starts getting jealous of the main female lead paying attention to other people. And she just pulls him aside and tells him he is being a dick and that she is and adult able to make her own choices. And since it has had the time to fester this is resolved pretty fast. All because people just talked. My whole point is that while idiot plots can be great for tragedy and comedy, they rarely work as well in romance stories. They always just make everyone look incompetent.
I feel like with romances, I can excuse people acting stupidly a bit more because I've seen it happen so often in real life. I think it's because a lot of people who are just starting a romance don't know how invested the other person actually is, and that uncertainty leads to insecurity and anxiety. And people don't tend to think clearly when they're in an emotional mess.
@Boo Bah looking at my post I really failed to explain this clearly. My bad. To really understand it I would suggest just reading it yourself. But for a little context, the main leads while having dropped small hints that they might be interested in the other lead, they are still not anything close to official. And the male lead is getting prissy about the female lead spending time with male friends that he introduced her too even while he is there too. He is being overly jealous about it and for a little gets a bit controlling about it. However before he really goes too far or anything the female lead notices he is acting weird and so takes him aside and talks to him. She asks him some questions and then after they have kind of hashed out the situation she basically tells him that while she appreciates him trying to protect her, he can't just make decisions for her. And that she is an adult and thus capable of making her own decisions. And while he is her friend and she will take his advice he also can't just tell her what to do or expect her to alway do what he says. And hearing it put plainly like that and described so bluntly the male lead agrees that that is scummy and apologizes, and promises to try to do better. It is an amazing moment because there is serious character growth for both of them that lasts from then on and is all resolved in character. Never do they suddenly act outside of what we would expect from them. It is just all around an extremely well written conflict resolution. And I would really recommend reading it yourself as I have just given a quick basic explanation. And honestly a pretty poor explanation at that.
I certainly hope that you just described that conflict and its 'resolution' poorly. Because her hitting him on the nose with a newspaper and telling him he's not allowed to feel that way isn't any sort of resolution.
This is one reason why Ashley is quickly becoming my favorite character in EGS, she is sufficiently genre savvy to not pressure Elliot or anyone else to not share secrets they don't feel comfortable sharing, or that they are keeping on behalf of someone else who has not given permission for her to know, and she trusts that when she needs to know something, they'll tell her. Elliot is great about this as well, but from the other side, he wants to share his secrets, but he refuses to betray the trust of his friends, so he just straight up tells you when he isn't sure it's his place to say something. Honestly, EGS handles this extremely well overall. For those who aren't familiar it's a webcomic that's been ongoing for like 20 years, easily the best webcomic out there IMO, people should absolutely go check it out (the full title is El Goonish Shive, but that's literally nonsense, so it's almost always abbreviated to the initialism), just be warned that the art in the early years isn't super great, but it gets *substantially* better over time, and for the most part the writing is good enough to make up for it (after the first couple of story arcs, anyway, the writing improves at a much faster rate than the art, I'd say one can't adequately decide whether it's for them until after Painted Black since that arc is where the writing really hits it's stride).This was my biggest frustration with Smallville, especially in the later seasons, and especially when it comes to Chloe. First, Clark wasn't willing to admit that he *had* secrets to her, I'd wager that while his refusal to share what they *are* would hurt her, their friendship would have been much stronger because I guarantee she'd trust him to share when he was ready if he wasn't constantly lying to her (and badly at that), but because he couldn't be even a little bit honest she kept violating his privacy and causing problems. Then, later on when she was finally let in, she did the same with Jimmy, refusing to admit she was keeping secrets on Clark's behalf, and it isn't that she doesn't trust him, but rather that it isn't her place to share Clark's secrets without his explicit permission. People are far more reasonable about that stuff IRL, at least the ones who are worth trusting at all, anyway. If you acknowledge the existence of a secret and say you're not comfortable sharing it or are otherwise unable/not allowed to share it, only toxic people who should absolutely be cut from your life will continue to push the issue. It's rarely actually about trust at all, but so many fictional characters make it out like trust is the *only* reason why you might not share a secret with someone. I can like you, trust you, even love you, and still not be willing to share that I'm a government assassin, or a wizard, or that my best friend is a superhero for any number of reasons that don't invalidate the fact that I like, trust you, and/or love you. Maybe I'm not allowed to tell you, maybe knowing puts you at risk somehow, maybe it just isn't my secret and thus none of your business, maybe knowing complicates your life somehow besides danger, maybe you just don't actually need to know and sharing secrets with people who don't actually need to know is a great way for them to get out, even if you wouldn't share it, the more people I might discuss it with increases the odds of being overheard by the wrong people significantly.
The "idiot setting" can work as comedy, where the main character is acting normally but everyone around them either misunderstands them comically or act in a specific stupid way (usually a metaphor for something irl).
I think my most recent session of DnD highlights how you can make an idiot plot work. My character just murdered in cold blood an innocent (and important) person, which is going to have horrible consequences that could have been avoided had he been more rational; but this character a) thinks that killing him is the easiest way to keep him quiet about a conversation, and b) has a powerful urge to kill and destroy (powered by lots of backstory) that make him act violently at any opportunity. Combined with his need for catharsis at the time, he succumbed to his greatest flaw and made an irrational decision that will likely influence the plot going forward.
An intentional idiot plot could be a great comedy where 1 character gets furious over how the other characters are idiots.I’m specifically referring to TF2 :D.
The heroes fight thing is used really well in One Punch Man, Saitama and Genos fight through training and it sets up how strong Genos would be if Saitama wasn't a thing while also then reinforcing why he's called One Punch Man
Arcane & Edgerunners are two recent examples of great tragedies where the fundamental flaws of the characters steer them towards their heartbreakingly foreseeable, yet technically preventable fates; Like observing the arc of a projectile and calculating its place of impact
@Anthony Nwachukwu Silco keeping Jinx around makes perfect sense: he sees her as a daughter after empathizing with her and taking her in, and he really does love her as a father would. He knows what it's like to feel betrayed and abandoned by someone he saw as family, so he would never do that to Jinx. As he himself muses when he finally realizes why Vander gave up fighting: "Is there anything so undoing as a daughter?"
I can't say anything about Edgerunners since I haven't seen it, but I agree about Arcane. And it's not just their character flaws that lead them to their decisions; it's also the world that they live in. Vander's fatal flaw is his stubborn refusal to fight back against Piltover's oppression; a stubborn refusal he developed because, the last time he led a revolt against Piltover, it failed miserably and everyone got slaughtered. Meanwhile, one of Jayce's problems is that he sees himself as working-class because his family is minor nobility and he actually worked in his family's factory, and he has to repeatedly be reminded that he knows nothing about what it's actually like for the lower classes.
In Arcane’s case I’m not 100% I agree, at least for all character arcs. Jinx//vi I can forgive because they were kids who lost their family twice and the second time was accidentally “Jinx’s fault” so I can understand it going down the way it did. Jayce was an idiot, but he also went from being an inventor with no political background to being a political minister, so I can argue that he was out of his depth and couldn’t be asked to make the right decision every time especially while he’s being manipulated by everyone around him. I think the most egregious offense was silco holding the idiot ball by keeping Jinx around so long.
Right on Jayce's GF.
It never ceases to amaze me how many of these trope talks boil down to "this trope isn't bad, it's a useful writing device, but bad or clueless application by authors who should know better has given it a bad rap." Honestly, this whole series should be required material for creative writing classes. Lol.
Me: "Okay, I think I'm ready to be productive now."*New Trope-talk drops*Me: "God damn it!"
I stopped writing my paper so I could watch rn
The same thing happened to me. I was just about to head out to go get groceries and then this dropped and I had to convince myself to put it on hold until I got back or I'd never go.
Time to binge the entire series again!
I am suffering I have a English essay due
I was reading through the list of options in the "There's no other way!" and had the distinct impression of: Aren't several of these Shakespeare? I really appreciated the comedy/tragedy/accident breakdown.The moment that got me:"single whiff of critical thinking"
I normally watch these videos while shouting different shows and movies as examples but this one I swear won the record. I have seen this happen way too many times
The "Press for Chicken" picture is totally me. I would do that in a heartbeat if I came across a button with that label.
7:23 ayyyyyy! Nice to see the IDW Sonic comic used as a reference here! Great example and a great read too!
This whole trope discussion reminds me of those "How To Beat ..." videos where people look at a piece of media (typically horror), take apart the "mistakes" made by the characters, and describe "how they would act so much better". Sometimes yes, they might be able to make those smarter decisions, but often not really, because 1. They are aware of more information than the characters in question, 2. They're coming up with these solutions while not under stress and can think clearer than the characters at the time, and 3. They've already seen how it ends while the characters don't have that level of precognition. Definitely interesting to think about.
@Foot Long maybe??? I'm kinda doubtful that it is
@spritemon 98 I remember watching a movie about that, with the exact same name. Was that movie an adaptation then?...!
I prefer the ones that frame themselves more as "here's how you could fight the monster", like the Zombie Survival Guides. Partly because I love zombie movies, but partly because that's less "here's what the characters did wrong" and more "knowing what we know as the audience, here's what you could do." It's an important reframing.
There's a popular belief in the pseudo-intellectual film-critique world that the Joker's plan to capture Lau in the Dark Knight is overly complex, and dependant on convenient and contrived coincidences. When in reality it is almost exceedingly simple, to the point where it can presumably be executed regardless of the variables. Which is pretty much what a good plan does.
@Rikrobat I can understand hiding in the office, that seems at least justifiable. It's actually coming back again after surviving the first night that's the real stretch. And not only coming back, but once again heading in alone and unarmed too? Nope, nobody would do that.
Another idiot plot I'd like to talk about is from Shadow the hedgehog (2005). In it, at one point Shadow discovers Eggman built an entire robot army in Shadow's likeness, and for the rest of that particular branching path Shadow ponders and broods over whether he too is one of those creations or not and it really bothers him. But I'm sitting here like "just poke yourself with a needle! If you bleed, then congrats, you're the real deal. If not, there's your answer. This is not as big of a deal/mystery as they make it seem"
A few seconds into this video and my brain was shouting “SHAKESPEARE. ...Also she is totally going to mention Shakespeare and outline what this trope means to his works.”Which she did, of course.
I wish I had a dollar for every time my wife and I yelled, "Call the police, you dumbass!" at the TV while watching Cobra Kai. But no, apparently in The Valley, all problems must be solved by karate. Still love that show though.
I was very excited to see the sonic and shadow fight over Mr Tinker included as a positive example, cause that was a great instance of IDW really showing the difference between the two of them. And then the very next arc shadow picks up the idiot ball.
Hey, Red, you probably won’t see this, but have you considered doing a Trope Talk for “Evil Relatives”? Not sure if that’s its name, but with a certain Todoroki reveal coming up in MHA, I’d love to hear you discuss the trope of a/the protagonist having a relative who is a villain, the classic “No, I am your father.”
"The Winter's Tale" from Shakespeare has this in the first half.. it's frustrating, but also happens in real-life. The king becomes convinced of an insane theory that his best friend and wife are betraying him, and no amount of convincing from his trusted advisors can change his mind. The thing is, there isn't even an Iago character misleading him and giving him bad advice. He's just deeply and totally wrong and everyone is way too much an enabler to stop him. While it's not literarily satisfying, there was a certain recent president who loudly persisted in believing obviously false things no matter how much he was told that it wasn't real, and could not be argued out of these positions, so... I get it.
I'ma name a story that I think was at least partially and idiot plot, that will be a hot take - Fire Emblem 3 Houses. I'll be a bit vague to try to avoid spoiling the major twists for anyone that still wants to play it, hasn't been spoiled, and is still planning to get it despite the next entry dropping in like a month and change.In that game, the person who turns out to be the primary villain (in that they're a major boss in 3/4 of available routes) starts out as a potential ally. They are in the school with the rest of the cast at the start of the game and could work in secret to recruit the entire cast, barring some of those affiliated with the Pope directly, to join them in destroying both the shadowy secret organization that has puppeted their homeland and was responsible for torturing them and killing most of their family, as well as dismantling the church so as to cause the Crests being passed through bloodlines to stop being used as a symbol of authority. Depending on how it was done, it might even be possible to go about that second part in a relatively peaceful manner....Instead, they say "screw it, I'm going to work with the secret organization," cause a continent wide war, and are only "redeemed" in the branch of the plot where the player character decides to help them in that. Supposedly they work to slowly take out the shadowy group after everything is said and done, but like... they never had anything on her to make the character work with them anymore anyways. I understand that part of that decision, in universe, is a result of their backstory, but like... It's never explained why, specifically, they couldn't trust their classmates outside of their own house to help resolve things. A handful of cutscenes with the other classes instead of some of those that we got, and boom, abruptly everyone's working together to take out the shadowy supervillains.
I've actually seen a good idiot setting, or something resembling it; it was this one webnovel I don't remember the name of where the entire world, minus the main character, was mind-controlled so they could not even comprehend the idea of causing harm to someone else for their own benefit
The secret to why idiot plots aren’t always a bad thing: Actual idiots exist, and sometimes do idiot thing. Just convince the audience the character is indeed one of these people
@John Weiss [he\him] 🏳️🌈 thanks. I think I’ll keep using that. I’ve been seeing a lot of these “God is great and Jesus died for our sins” types. Praise be to allah will be my go to.
@year 7 high infinity wars is great if you like non stop over the top fighting
Everyone's an idiot sometimes. But nobody is an idiot all of the time. No, not even that person you thought of after reading that.
This is where the dinstinction between PIS (Plot Induced Stupidity) and CIS (Character Induced Stupidity) must be made. One is bad. The other is not bad.
@Daniel Shaw How do you know it's a fool proof strategy? Do YOU have a magical gem that has enough foresight to see literal years ahead? Also, who's gonna do the cutting? It's just Strange who can do it at that point and he's the one with the foresight. Second, there was no consequences of the timeloop of the Dormamu dimension. Also he ended the movie not fixing himself when he had the power to do so.This is what I mean by complete lack of understanding for basic text. The films make it so blatant and people still don't understand basic level in-universe explanation
I always like to pretend that I’m in college pursuing my TV production and Writing degree and you’re my really cool professor
To be fair, in the case of BVS, the story is that Bruce is so blinded by his anger that he doesn't consider Superman a human person and instead considers him a monsterous alien. So even if Clark said "hey, a supervillain kidnapped my mom", Bruce either wouldn't believe him, or would believe and just not care or be like "oh s@%t! There's more of you?". The whole point of that sequence was to highlight that no matter what Clark said, Bruce wasn't going to hear him out.In fact, Bruce doesn't hear him out. It takes Lois, a human person, showing up and pleading that makes Bruce realize "wait, I'm doing pretty much what Joe Chill did. I'm hurting actual human people and not just monsterous aliens here".. I'd argue that makes sense given what the story has shown us.
Keep in mind Clark already knows he isn’t exactly a calm and reasonable person. He visits several people in Gotham describing him, one explicitly saying a fist will stop him over words.
@blueishgreen76 *>"the fight occurs because the author was more interested in playing out a philosophical conflict than whether or not it made any sense for Batman to go after Superman. ""I will grant you that Snyder's version was far worse, because, without the background or philosophy, the fight isn't compelling enough to interesting."
@Fraser Souris It was certainly before Miller went off the deep end, but it still remains that, in the original source, the fight occurs because the author was more interested in playing out a philosophical conflict than whether or not it made any sense for Batman to go after Superman. I will grant you that Snyder's version was far worse, because, without the background or philosophy, the fight isn't compelling enough to interesting. Miller's version is more "fridge logic" than an idiot plot.
@blueishgreen76 I do feel that's quite reductive. There's more to the Dark Knight Returns than that. The reason why it became so popular and well-received was because it actually explored Batman's psychology and deconstructed much of his mythos in a novel and interesting way.Consider the following case: In TDKR, every character has different coloured speech bubbles. Batman's speech bubbles are always grey. Joker's are always green. Superman's is always blue. In the sequence where Joker snaps his own neck, his speech bubbles are grey. Showing us that Joker isn't somehow snapping his own neck but rather, Batman snapped Joker's neck but still wants to rationalize he never kills anyone so he imagines such an absurd scenario. This shows us what kind of person would become Batman. TDKR doesn't paint Batman as the good guy.As for Superman, his take here shows what would happen if this All American Hero actually followed this "American way" he claims to support. It would involve becoming a puppet of the state.Like yeah, this stuff may seem normal now, but at the time it was quite groundbreaking and well done. And I feel the animated adaptation kinda ruined TDKR's reputation since it "santitizes" the story. The movie downplays how messed up Batman is supposed to be here and makes him more like modern versions with a strict "No Kill code" even tho it undermines the whole point of the story.BvS only takes some inspiration from TDKR. Specifically that its Batman is that older and more messed up version. But BVS makes it that his arc is to go from TDKR Batman to like, DCAU Batman thanks to Superman.
The problem was not that some superhero in that would would have though superman a threat that needed to be put down, the problem was that it required Batman to be that superhero. The original graphic novel was basically fanfic by an objectivist nut-job who wanted to see his boy Bruce out-smart and put the smackdown on the altruistic Superman
In the case of the Batman V Superman idiot ball, the only reason I think it really exists is because Frank Miller thought Batman and Superman shouldn't be friends and DCEU hasn't figured out there are more than 3 Batman stories other than Dark Knight Strikes Again, The Killing Joke and The Long Halloween but that's all a different argument.
This really reminds me of Ender's game, where all the main characters are canonically geniuses but in actuality it's just that everyone else in the world is so ridiculously dumb that the main characters having normal human intelligence makes them geniuses by comparison.
They handed Everyone at the SGC and on the bridge of the Prometheus - and frankly Samantha Carter in particular - a really heavy idiot ball of the "obvious trap" variety in the lynchpin plot to S09E15 Ethon."Many bothans died to bring us this information" is one of the oldest military tricks in the book. The British famously used it to help win WWII against Germany.In this ep, many very good air force personnel died and my line of computers that I name after fallen cities (incl laptops after fallen city-like vehicles) got another name, just because entire groups of people with every reason in the world to know better were apparently trying as hard as they could to get shot in the head, despite their being way more insightful and rational than other characters in their genre nearly 100% of the rest of the time.
"Evil always wins over Good because Good is Dumb" -Lord Helmet
I honestly didn't think I'd see the day when a trope talk could bring up ReBoot, and Red would elect not to talk about it.
I am reminded of a moment in Hunter × Hunter where one of the characters suddenly interrupts a seemingly inconsequential conversation by saying the following (Liberally altered to avoid spoilers, but the meaning is the same): "[You two.] Nicely done. Actually, I'm an idiot. … If only I'd asked myself that question, we would have [found out the truth] much sooner." There's something I've always found cathartic about that scene.The character in question is typically pretty intelligent, but it still feels like a very grounded moment--perhaps one of the most grounded moments in the show. I think that's because having every character always be at the top of their game makes _us_ feel lesser for being fallible. So by having a character slip up in this way it's basically saying: "everyone makes mistakes, and that's okay".The character that _is_ the idiot overcoming that hurdle mostly on their own and acknowledging how much sooner the plot could have been resolved is a great way to go about it imo. In fact, if done right, I think realising their own mistakes can make a character appear _more_ intelligent than if they hadn't made the mistake in the first place.What's very interesting is that this mistake is not linked to any established character flaw. It's the exact opposite. It's linked to a character _strength,_ and illustrates that this strength is not absolute. It helps round out the character is the same way tying it to a flaw would, but it's a pretty clever way to go about it.
What's really sad/disturbing is how many real life disasters feel like an "idiot plot" in hindsight.
@fluffy butter A non-nuclear example of an IRL 'Idiot Plot': "Yeah, let's just go ahead and dump our still smoldering trash into this old coal mine. What's the worst that could happen?" (Centralia, PA.)
@fluffy butter pretty much.Many transportation disasters as well.
Almost every nuclear disaster ever is basically an irl idiot plot
I remember that one tragedy from 1920 or so about a boy that fell through a hole, and a similar story about a man that got stuck in a cave. The former had supposed professionals making idiotic decisions in arrogance and avarice, and the later had the usual idiotic, ignorant doggedness and Morbid curiosity associated with tragedy speculators be the downfall of the victims respectively. I don't remember the name nor specifics of the circumstances behind the boy's story, but I do remember that the man was Floyd Collins. There's a wiki article and an extensive YT video talking about his story.
Funny, I was just discussing this sort of thing with a friend the other day. The best/worst example of this U can think of is the Emi route in Katawa Shoujo. It relies 110% on the protagonist, Hisao, being more dense than a black hole when he is absolutely not that dumb in any of the other routes.
One of the best versions I saw of "the whole issue would be resolved if they just talked" I saw, was in Tommorows Cantabile, where the male lead refused to explain to his friends that he didn't betray them, but was rather forced to conduct for the other team... simply because that was just who he is. It was firmly established how bad he was at communicating, so when he didn't communicate, it hurt, but you knew why.
Shakespeare: lauded as a literary genius Also Shakespeare: mostly dialogue.
@John Davis Apparently The Tempest was quite the spectacle for the day.
Seems fair. Shakespeare's plays were written to be performed on stage with a limited cast and special effects weren't great in his time.
I read a post on tumblr that said something like, if Hamlet and Macbeth had switched protagonists, there would have been no plot for either. Macbeth would have killed the evil uncle immediately and Hamlet would have hemmed and hawed so long that Duncan would have, idk, dropped dead from cancer or something. But that's the point. There's only a tragedy because these specific people have these specific flaws and they fit within the story and drive the plot. It's stupid, but it makes sense. But some authors try and put Hamlet into Macbeth and then force things so Hamlet does all the murders immediately and then it's well, that makes no sense. Hamlet doesn't do that. He procrastinates worse than an ADHD college student ten hours before the deadlinePoint I'm making, I think, is good video!
The version I found was changing the protagonists of _Hamlet_ and _Othello._ Hamlet would have seen through Iago, while Othello would have promptly killed Claudius.
@Nana For a (mostly) literal examination of this, I would recommend you check out another YT creator, Jill Bearup, and her "Fantasy Heroine" series. The hook is that the author is constantly flummoxed because she has a very specific idea for how things are supposed to be done in HER story, and the heroine is having none of it.:EDIT: OH FOR....! Someone posted this right under this comment.
That's the exact same point Red made in the TT on tragedies, actually
Red made a similar point in her tragedies video, but it was Othello and Hamlet.
I've heard the same said about Hamlet and Othello.
"Why can't we just get in the RUNNING CAR?" "Don't be stupid, we'll go hide behind the chain saws..."
One of my favorite things to do when coming up with or planning out a story is asking how much or how hard the plot hinges on a lack of communication. If I have to backtrack and write an additional story or two to justify the characters not sharing simple pieces of information with one another, I may or may not have a problem. If the moving pieces is part of the story already, and the idiot plot is baked into the greater plot like adding salt and pepper to your omelet before you start cooking, then I have a fuller experience for everyone else to enjoy . . . once I get around to actually finishing the story and getting it out there. lol
For what it's worth, "always wanting to square up with you" is motivation enough for some anti-heroes or hard-nosed warrior types
"If the audience gets mad at the author made the character do that" pretty much the entire BFA and Shadowlands storylines
YES! OMG so this trope does have an actual name! I've been calling it "Story-written-stupid" where the characters do exceptionally dumb things to move the plot along that doesn't feel like something they would normally do in-character since most people have at least that much common sense.
I was just trying to explain this to someone recently and I was not able to establish for them the difference between the characters making a believable mistake and them suddenly picking up the idiot ball
great idea for a supervillain: a psychic with the ability to manipulate the language centres of the brain. He makes our heroes hear things differently to what people are actually saying, thus rendering effective communication impossible
7:22 well color me impressed, I never expected Red to pull out IDW Sonic as an example in a trope talk
As of late, I legitimately feel like real life is an idiot plot where I'm also one of the idiots.
@『PURPLE HAZE』ok gotta come back for that one as there is way too many ways to take that.i always lean on remembering that the shear number of things that can be known absolutely dwarfs to a harrowing degree the theoretical limit of information storage of a brain, even if given the most favourable head start. in simple terms relatively speaking every form of intelligence that has ever existed is to some degree an idiot. realising you are just helps get you off the fence about committing to learning new stuff and trying to improve rather than ever allowing yourself the delusion of being automatically perfect with all the horrific bad takes that can lead to.essentially noone was born with a guidebook to everything and neither was anyone before us, so best we got gud at working together and appreciating the progress we make.my apologies if it felt like a direct attack was more a pained nod from someone whos forgotten what its like to not have a thousand yard stare.anywho, what with having called everyone an idiot the long way round i best also emohasize that innocent ignorance is just a teachable moment whereas willing ignorance is just fear masked in projection.good luck out there.
Just look at the US Federal government. A bunch of idiots causing real problems and doing everything to make it worse in the delusion that they think they're helping. Common sense states that producing products in the USA and other measures would help and that the feds should stop being idiots.
The thing is, _you_ are the author of your own story. You decide what happens, even if it's just in your immediate environment. Sit down and talk to people, even if it's awkward, and ask the hard questions. Take frequent breaks and don't make any rash decisions. Don't automatically assume malicious intent. It may help to view your life as a story you're writing, with you as the hero. Basically, if the idiot in your idiot plot would do such-and-such... don't do such-and-such.
@Bluecho4 Way too true for comfort.
@Chicken Nugget Same, but I feel like the entire humanity is the doomed "hero".
This is probably the best video essay I've come across in months. *subscribed*
This was an awesome video! This was a topic that has always bothered me and when I first saw the thumbnail I was excited to see what you had to say about it. The Troupe Talks as a whole have helped develop my narrative skills. Your video on the 5 man band inspired a core group for a novel I am working on. I love this series so much!Thank you for making what you make and congratulations on both 10 years and 2 Million subscribers. You deserve more all of your success and more. Y'all are incredible. 😎🥰💜
awesome video, Red. you did a great job kind of examining and reinterpreting the whole concept, I’m not sure I’ve seen it looked at quite like this before.
"Idiot plot"At least my one roleplay character that felt into an obvious trap (poisoned food) was because we literally went "let use the 7th sin to represent them?" and I choose gluttony for him XD
In Cabin in the Woods, there was a scene where the characters were starting to form a rational plan to get out of their situation, but then someone released a gas in the room to make them stupid.
@Cosmic space thing It's an extremely good horror movie deconstruction. I highly recommend it.
@Cosmic space thing It's true, though.
@Cosmic space thing Never stated otherwise, but that's completely besides the point. They keep making sequel after sequel after sequel because only profit matters. That's reality.
@That Leetri Guy the “only profit matters” mentality is trash
@Cosmic space thing That’s a fair point. In real life the film horror genre is still around and has gone through numerous transformations. Recent ones like Jordan Peele’s films feel fresher through their social commentary and the characters’ awareness of avoiding horror cliches. So maybe what’s closer to reality is a telling where the Ancient Ones actually prefer this new story where the ritual goes off the rails because it’s something unexpected and thus exciting.
I used to get really aggravated about most of these plots for the super obvious stupid choice, but then I realized most people are bad at truly communicating and often make really stupid, stupid choices in the heat of the moment based on our emotions, no matter how smart we think we are. So if anything, it just makes it more realistic to me. Well except for bat v supes.
@Legoben98 Productions You know what, that's fair! I didn't really think of it that way
I would say BVS does fit in that concept, because it’s showing Bruce’s flaws (like paranoia, ptsd, stubbornness, etc.) and him at his breaking point with a rookie Clark that tries to make sure that he could get a irrational Bruce to listen but sees that he has to at least tire him first just to talk.
a week ago on reddit i saw a questionnaire about what my most hated trope was. now i actually know what it is called^^what i specifically hate about it, though, is the cringe shame i feel at the expence of the characters doing the idiot thing.
One case of an idiot plot I've seen before that made the story mote interesting was in this book is full of spiders.Basically the town the setting took place in was under quarantine and as the two main protagonists are trying to leave the quarantine one of the protagonist's girlfriend is trying to get in to save them. So as the protagonists escape and try to stop her from entering the quarantine she ends up seeing the protagonist's house on the news. Naturally confused she sends a text with a picture of the house asking what's going on. The protagonist then immediately assumes shes at his house and immediately reenters the quarantine. This leaves the other protagonist and the girlfriend to meet up outside the quarantine and decide they had to go in to save them. This is the first case that something like this happens and while in most cases the characters are simply responding to the available information, however this serves the purpose of growing tension and dread as you realize all of these assumptions and mistakes will lead to tragedy. It's one of the main themes of tbe book with many characters making single short sighted mistakes that compound on one another to make a massacre. In fact early on you root for the protagonist when they're making a dumb decision despite someone literally saying that it's a terrible idea because you believe in the protagonists experience and genuinely think that it would be a correct decision. However it only ends up making things much much worse and the protagonists realize that if they had simply listened to the character telling them it was a bad idea they wouldn't be in this mess.
My favourite type of character, which I was reminded of by this video's topic, are what I would call "Smartly-Written Dumb Characters" (In contrast to the worst type of character: The Dumbly-Written Smart Character. Think Cumberbatch's Sherlock or Michael Morbius from... yeah) my two favourite examples of this done well are Homer in seasons 1 - 9 of The Simpsons; and Xavier from Xavier Renegade Angel, cases in which not only is the character's idiocy consistent throughout on a character level, but it is also perfectly in tune with the show's tone and ideas to expose: In Homer's case, although an idiot he is still a caring father who acts without direct malice and so we get to have genuinely sweet moments of sympathy for him in those early seasons; the 'message' of those narratives showing that he's a dumbass with a heart of gold. And on Xavier's, he's a walking critique/parody of pseudo-intellectualism encased in an amoral deformed body; seriously, never had I found a show with dialogue so eloquently written which purposefully has 0 substance; there's a bunch of jokes that are sooo easy to miss if you're not paying attention to the dialogue.
The plot that happens when people catch "the dumb"Truly a tragedy. 😔
@Suckymacworthless it's a tragicomedy :D
Or they took their stupid pills.
apparently The Dumb can be spread through TV screens, so cases spike every time a politician shows up
That's what makes a comedy. :^)
If 2020 told us anything, "the dumb" is more virulent and contagoius than any covid ever will be
Now that I've seen Red illustrate The Fool, I want an entire Overly Sarcastic Tarot.
6:50 All I could think about was the Luffy/Zoro fight in the Alabasta arc at whiskey peak. Luffy really got the idiot ball there...
Listing all the interesting reasons for heroes to fight, even blindsiding me with the IDW Sonic comics, to then go "but that sounds like a lot of work" and cutting to Batman V Superman made me have to pause the video instantly to get my laughs out
me sitting here thinking the entire time about scum villain's self saving system and how the entire plot revolves around the very specific contrivance of the main character being so caught up in feeling big brained because he read the book he's now living in that he consistently refuses to acknowledge the actual consequences of his actions until it almost destroys the world as everyone around him screams at him to take responsibility. It's an entire novel that is a tragedy from everyone else's perspective but his because to everyone else the plot has been nothing but trauma. The entire appeal is that Shen QingQiu is a moron who could have resolved everything multiple times by not choosing the most dramatic option or just talking. But he doesn't. He doesn't because he understands this world is a story and there is an evil google translate deity that threatens him should he deviate too much from what's expected but even more importantly is the way he treats tropes and genres as iron clad rules. No one is a person to him, least of all his love interest tragically, till it finally occurs to him that nobody is following the supposed script they're meant to and he's forced to learn the tragedy of the body he stole and even then he's slow to acknowledge it. It's an entire story that can only be told as an idiot plot and I LOVE IT. It's rotted my brain for years
“Other Ways” 0:48-Tell the Honest Truth-Call the Authorities-Trust that your Trusted Friend is being Honest-Wait Five Minutes and Reassess-Explain the Miscommunication (even if it’s awkward)-Get a Second Opinion-Confirm that you’re talking about the same thing-Eat a Snickers-Say Your Plan Out Loud and See if it Holds Up-Ask Follow-Up Questions-Don’t Assume Malice when Ignorance Also Explains It-Occam’s Razor in General-Follow Quarantine Protocol
@pRahvi0 When all the evidence suggests otherwise.
Oh, thank you! I have trouble reading small text.
@pRahvi0 Even the mute one can communicate nonverbally, so you'd still need to off the last one eventually.
@Alias Anybody 3 people can keep a secret when 2 of them are dead and the remaining one mute.
@pRahvi0 The more people you'd need to organise something the harder it is to keep it secret. At some point it becomes magnitudes less plausible than reality.
A good example of good idiot plots would also be the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books or "Dune" .Spoiler Alert for both:Wenn Eddard dies it is directly linked to his Honor and the whole harkonnen plot in Dune hinges on the Mentat of house Atreides thinking its illogical of a doctor to betray his lord and lady Jessica empathizing with him and not further questioning his motifsAll of them use dumb decisions which are true to the characters and give them a new level of tragedy