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5 Tropes I Love, While Also Recognizing Their Awfulness

By Josh Kurp | Seriously Random Lists | August 1, 2012 | Comments ()


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#1. Incredibly Lame Pun

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Who doesn't love a good bad pun? You can put your hands down, everyone, because the following examples of Incredibly Lame Puns, via the Tropes page, are COMEDY GOLD:

Cryptkeeper: "Oh hello kiddies, you're just in time for your driving lesson. Today we'll be learning about scare-lell parking."

Giles: "I've never actually heard of anyone attacked by a lone baseball bat before."
Xander: "Maybe it's a vampire bat."

Tim: "So it wasn't so much a Eskimo roll as a case of rolling right Inuit."

Two more, you say? Well, if you insist:

Kermit´╗┐: "You like your drums more than food?"
Animal: "They are food! Eat drums, eat cymbals!"
Kermit: "How cymbalic."

Hello Nurse: Stay back! I'm packing a heater!
/suitcase opens up, revealing a miniature radiator
Dot: Can't argue with that one. It's too stupid.

That last example is from the classic Animaniacs episode, "This Pun for Hire," a must-watch for any fan of this trope. Once I stop laughing at crappy puns, I'll know I'm truly dead inside.

#2. Animal Reaction Shot

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Our good friends over at Film Drunk are currently looking for submissions for a "Animal Reaction Shot Supercut," and I couldn't be more excited. It combines two things I love -- animals and reacting -- into one (hopefully) seven-hour-long video. Seriously, I could watch a dog tilt her head after the female protagonist says "my life couldn't get any more rough" and gawk at a monkey scratching his nuts in apathy for the rest of my life. One Drunkard came across this gem:

Mike Myers post-Austin Powers career is one big chihuahua head tilt.

#3. Manic Pixie Dream Girl

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Oh yeah.

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Obviously.

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Da DOY. What? I'm a 25-year-old male.

#4. Record Needle Scratch

I laugh EVERY. TIME. Do you know that scene from The Simpsons in which the one grunge-out asks the other grunge-out, "Are you being sarcastic, dude?" to which he responds, "I don't even know anymore." That's me with the Record Needle Scratch (necessary audio assistance). One would assume that producers only use the sound effect in trailers to be ironic -- but considering you really only hear it for films that star guys like Cuba Gooding, Jr. or Rob Schneider or a anthropomorphic money (the Record Needle Scratch is often paired with the Animal Reaction Shot), I'm not so sure. Also, movie producers are heartless monsters without a sense of sympathy or irony. But don't let Dunston checking in distract you: the record needle scratch is 100% effective.

#5. Cloudcuckoolander

"A character with their head in the clouds. They are strangely oblivious to things that everyone else takes for granted, such as whether it is okay to turn their suitemate's room into a landfill and board it up." That's an oddly specific situation, but many characters I enjoy in shows I love are considered "cloudcuckoolanders":

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kel.gif

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cassie.gif

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And so on. But creating a character who says whatever they want, whenever they want, feels a little cheap (or they're on drugs); I don't know too many people in my life who act like Cassie from Skins, and even if I did, I probably wouldn't like them much. And yet, when they're on TV: I love 'em. They cut through the subtext of potentially melodramatic scenes, so rather than 17 more episodes of the main characters deciding whether they're in love or not when they clearly are, the Cloudcuckoolander will say something blunt and then everyone has sex. That I'm OK with.

Please leave your favorite hate to love (love to hate?) tropes in the comments. He'd want you to.

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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Both Spaced AND Skins is referenced in this. It's like you're actively trying to please the Anglophile side of me

  • Carl

    How is using the record scratch ironic? What is the opposite of a record scratch? No record scratch?

  • celery

    Cassie from Skins. Oh, wow.

  • Tyler

    I just got trapped in TVTropes for like an hour. Asshole.

  • Jezzer

    You lost me at Manic Fucking Dream Fucking Pixie Fucking Girl, who shares many attributes with the Cloudcuckoolander.

    And it was going so well up to that point.

  • Breaking the fourth wall is one of my favorites, if done right. Moonlighting raised it to high art.

  • Hawkeye Fierce

    I concur. Probably my favorite single example is from Groucho Marx, though.

    In "Animal Crackers" he has an extended aside wherein he takes several breaks from his party conversation to make mournful and incredibly psuedo deep observations to the audience. Brilliant and should be used as evidence for why the aliens might not want to wipe out humanity.

    "Parties. Parties. They talk of parties. I came down here for a party and look what happened: nothing. Not even any ice cream. This would be a better world for the children if the parents had to eat the spinach."

  • monkeysparkets

    I like all of these except the MPDG. Her I find mildly annoying. Perhaps because I know so many girls (myself included) who have tried to be her by acting shrill and flighty. And her counterpart, the Douche Scumbag Who Is Reformed By Love, needs to be shot right in the face.

  • cinekat

    The record-scratch rules! I can't tell you how often I hear it in my head, usually while watching the news...

  • denesteak

    I love Anamaniacs! That was the best show as a kid, and after I got older, it became even better because of all the things I didn't understand as a kid.

  • I LOVE record needle scratch.
    If I could have one superpower, it'd be the ability to make that noise perfectly with my mouth.
    Puns, howewer, can go rot in hell. You might even say that th-...YAAAAAAAARGH!!!
    Sorry, I momentarily glimpsed a pun-filled circle of hell. Turns out Dante had only scratched the surface.

  • Serpentlord

    I'd love to, but seeing as how TV Tropes is the single greatest evil in the world today other than that Palestinian children's show where Bugs Bunny's hand was mutilated, I'll have to abstain.

  • thefreeair

    I have an uncle who used to live for my bossy little girl "you're SILLY" response to his ridiculous puns. The other day I spoke with him on the phone and he purposefully egged me into calling him a moron so he could reply, "I'm more RON than anyone." (Yeah, his name is Ron)

  • Johnnyboy

    Nah .. Harry Caray will live on in eternity thanks to the loving recreation by Will Farrell.

  • Optimus Rhyme

    I've been loving that thing superhero movies do where the regular citizens of a city (always New York) band together and help the hero. The latest Spider-Man did it massively. Batman did it. We even saw some in the Avengers.
    I still get a little jolt of YEAH! AMERICA! when it happens.

  • Shmecky

    The 'shoulder angel' and 'shoulder devil', epitomised by Kronk in The Emperor's New Groove

  • ,

    Larry Kroger in "Animal House," you meant to say.

  • Xtacle Steve

    I didn't think of this until I saw that picture, but Christopher Lloyd could be Jake Johnson's (Nick from New Girl) dad.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Old woman: Do you dig graves?
    Neil: Yeah, yeah, they're all right, yeah.

  • See, too many people look at tropes and just see recycled material. But tropes are awesome. They're shorthand communication tools we all get through lives of constant conditioning, though they feel instinctive. When they work best, they enable something new to occur in the safety of the recognizable. This is what makes "South Park" endlessly watchable if not always hilarious and probably why those of us who love "Community" really love "Community." We're all Abed to some degree.

  • Anne Lucchesi

    anthropomorphic money? Like in those creepy Geico commercials?

  • John W

    The annoying friend/neighbor that makes your life a living hell and yet you still hang out with them. Example: Kramer.

    The Bitch. Example: Cordelia Chase.

    The super anal retentive person. Example Monica Gellar or Jane Kerkovich-Williams (Happy Endings).

    The super clueless person. Example: Joey Tribbiani or Kelso.

  • Pepper

    love watching Queen C in classic bitch mode. And sparring against other wannabitchqueens:
    Cordelia: You're really campaigning for bitch of the year, aren't you?
    Buffy: As defending champion, you nervous?

    Cordelia: I can hold my own.

    And the unsuccessful but always determined villains always get to me.
    e.g. Brain of Pinky and the Brain. Spike of BtVS Seasons 2-4

  • I've always been a fan of asides - Ferris Bueller, of course, but also Bob Hope, et al.
    Then there are the classic slapstick tropes - stepping on a rake/hoe, the pie in the face, the ever popular getting racked and falling over speechless/squeaking.

  • TheAggroCraig

    The Aside Glance.

  • competitivenonfiction

    Amnesia. I love amnesia (in movies and TV). It makes me happy every time, and I'm still pretty sure that it's the whole reason I love soap operas.

  • ,

    Heh. The soaps are loaded with them, primarily that no one ever changes. The characters all make the same mistakes again and again and again ...

    My favorite is either

    a) Nobody ever looks to see who's knocking on the door before opening it.

    b) What Stephen King described as The Kid Trick, recently exemplified by Michael on "General Hospital." Child gets kidnapped or disappears for no good reason and shows up six months later having aged eight years and NO ONE NOTICES. King said even he wouldn't try to pull that off in a novel, no one would stand for that.

  • Ramona Flowers is not a MPDG. She's too moody and at times off putting.

  • chriso

    Totally agree! Not a MPDG at all. She'd absolutely loathe the characters she was compared to if they existed in her story.

  • A. Smith

    One of the reasons she's one of my favorite comic characters is because of that very reason. She kicks serious ass but is very flawed, recognizes mistakes and probably realizes that she and Scott have more in common than even Scott knows.

  • I was going to say the same thing. She's one of the least quirky things in Scott Pilgrim and one of the few characters that is mostly together (other than Gideon's mind control device in her neck).

  • Bert_McGurt

    I've always been partial to the Evil Twin, as well as Adam Westing.
    And I don't think anyone here needs to be reminded of my fondness for puns.

  • Liz is my name

    MelBivDevoe - are you me?

    Cassie is THE BEST and my husband loves puns like he likes...me. I don't know, i'm really not the pun-maker of the household.

  • O_o

    Maybe you're me from another universe! Or I'm you? This got trippy fast.

  • BWeaves

    Do people even understand what a record scratch is anymore? That sound effect and the rewind tape sound effect have no meaning when you can't do it yourself.

    I remember my mother telling her granddaughter, who was whining about something, that she sounded like a broken record, and the kid said, "What's a record?"

    Of course, she also wanted to buy that kid the rolling phone with the smile face. I had one when I was little over 50 years ago. I had to explain to my mother than phones don't look like that anymore, and the kid won't know what it is or how to play with it.

  • POINGjam

    You'd like Myq Kaplan:
    https://twitter.com/myqkaplan/

  • BobbFrapples

    My father cannot go near a graveyard without going into an hour long pun-fest. It is really tough to keep a straight face at funerals when he is around.

  • competitivenonfiction

    I have an undying love for the manic pixie dream girl, mostly because 2 of my closest friends are regularly thought of this way by men who think they're going to teach them about life. The thing is that before the heartbreak, before my friends realize they're being used again, and before I wind up with another dude crying on my couch with snot on his chin about losing his soul-mate, it can be a fun thing to see. Seeing this stereotype in movies always reminds me of how much I love my friends and how much fun they are.

  • Pat C.

    I guess Harpo Marx would be the archetypal cloudcuckoolander?

  • Siege

    I LOVE ALL THESE THINGS!

    Especially puns. I grew up in the sort of family @d8fddd33de5e512b14af8140d1f199ef:disqus is trying to cultivate. Now I am a constant embarrassment to Mr. Siege with my awful, awful puns. It's awesome.

  • jthomas666

    I never miss an opportunity to drop a pun at the dinner table. I consider it a critical part of my kids' linguistic development.

    That, and I love hearing my kids giggle.

  • Hawkeye Fierce

    You are a rock star parent.

    My brother and I have an ongoing pun contest centered around the rare, usually holiday related, family dinners. The unspoken rule is that you have to reference something actually on the table or menu.

    A really great Thanksgiving included the following exchange:

    "I don't think you should do that. . ."

    "But I yam what I yam!"

    "Still, you butter not."

    And of course there was the incredible display of hivemind at the dinner wherein four separate family members independently and simultaneously came up with a new measurement system for gastric distress:

    "That one registered a 7.8 on the Rectum Scale."

    And I'm sure everybody knows what was said immediately after that.

  • Karl Kaefer

    I will always love the incredibly lame pun and the Anamaniacs!! Also the Muppets! How about the Marx Brothers? and on & on &on
    What do you call a row of rabbits marching backwards?
    A receding hare line!
    Hate me if you must.

  • Cassie! <3

    I'm married to a chronic punster. It's not as much fun as you'd think.

  • randomhookup

    I'm thinking of organizing a telethon to help.

  • The record scratch is always a delight. I always love it when a character withdraws in a skittish fashion.

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