What's Happening

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Hit-and-Run: Removed the examples of Celia in Greysky City and Pippin in Bree on the grounds that she's meant to be naive and he's basically meant to be an idiot, in the film anyway. (He does quite a number of silly things in the book, too.) This trope only applies when a character suddenly and temporarily turns into an idiot purely order to advance the plot.

Also, both examples had turned into a conversation on the main page.
Nights1st Star: How about we just give Code Geass and Heroes their own Idiot Ball pages? Code Geass has nearly 10 examples, and it already has TV Tropes's longest Narm page to boot. Meanwhile, Heroes has around 20 different Idiot Ball examples. Scroll down to the top of its list, and it's whole section would be still too darn long to fit my computer screen?

—- Danel: See, there's this annoying thing that I've seen a few times here and which starts to annoy me more and more - people are making no distinction between Idiot Ball, and other kinds of "RAH! Why are the characters being stupid" type-tropes. People seem to think that on any occasion that a cool-headed Genre Savvy troper in the comfort of their own home or the Wise Mentor watching from a distance could see that a particular act would end badly... that this is an example of an Idiot Ball. There seems to be little recognition of the fact that sometimes people do indeed do fairly stupid things for any number of reasons, *and that in a number of these examples these reasons are clear*. Sure, we know that bringing your friend back from the dead would probably end badly... but would that actually stop you from giving it a try?

It just seems to me that any example of a character making a mistake is frequently seen to make them an Idiot Ball-wielding moron who is Too Dumb to Live.
Lale: "Well, it really was a Angelus Ex Machina; Asriel had angels on his side, providing him with materials and knowledge and so forth; implied by Thorold. It only makes sense in retrospect in the later books. The angels wanted him to open the path to kick off their big war, the one they've been itching to kick off for millenia. So, they subtly messed with everything that was ocurring at the cabin; planting that supid idea in Roger's head, sending Lyra to sleep. Maybe there's even some way they messed with Iorek. HDM angels, even the rebel ones, arent all extremely nice. Ends justify the means, and all that. Its a bit of a reach, I know." Is this a legitimate, canonical explanation or Wild Mass Guessing?
Greenygal: Er, would somebody like to clarify what Pepper's Idiot Ball moment in Iron Man is meant to be? I have no idea what that entry is about.
Jonn: The first example in the film section is the unspoilered climax of the third Bourne movie. The irony of someone thinking it's not a spoiler is not lost on me, but since I and many others have yet to see the film, would someone please spoiler-tag it?

Kefkakrazy: The Watchmen example is a mountain of natter. I'm taking the liberty of pruning it a bit, so here's the pieces I'm cutting off.

  • The future cannot be changed, and asking questions wouldn't fix it. For example, let's say Manhattan was asked about Kennedy and he replied by saying Kennedy gets shot in November 22, 1963. Had anyone attempted to stop it, it would have happened anyway, because there is no way to change the future, and the attempt to stop it would have always happened. Whatever Jon answers is what happens. It's like looking back at a memory, and thinking of what you would have done differently. But no matter what you do, you can not change the past. Jon constantly sees his past and future, but like memories he cannot change them.
    • Not to mention that he wouldn't tell if he was asked something like that, because he doesn't remember telling such thing in the immediate future. Also, he can only know his own future, in any case — the only way he can know what happens on the other side of the globe is by going to check personally, or looking for information like a normal person. It seems that he finds himself compelled to obey the causality even though it really doesn't touch him any more. He only reacts to Laurie's confession about having a relationship with Dan after she tells it, even though some time earlier he told her that she would tell him this very soon.
  • The United States uses Dr. Manhatten, whose basically God to defeat North Vietnam, but doesn't bother using him to finish off the Sovient Union. The Russians have nukes, we have God by the time they can launch the nukes Dr. Manhattan would have destroyed them, and most of their armies.
    • Thats actually adressed in the comic, and its stated that while Manhattan could destroy the vast majority of all nuclear launches the total volume would be so large that the fraction that slipped through his fingers would be more than enough to destroy the world several times over.
    • Except that is perhaps the one part of the comic that doesn't make sense as Manhattan can make a supposed infinite number of copies of himself. If one of him could destroy 70% of the missles, five of him should have had no problem.
    • Who says the "I can destroy 70% of the missiles" thing doesn't take duplication into account? We don't know that Jon can make infinite copies of himself; we never actually see him make more than five or ten, tops. Imagine that it takes each copy one second to spot a missile (travelling several miles a second) teleport to it, and destroy it. ICB Ms take about half an hour to reach their targets. That means each copy has time to destroy 1800 missiles, less the number of seconds it took for the US to detect the launch and get word to Jon. If the Soviets build twenty or thirty thousand missiles, some of them are going to get through unless Jon can make a dozen or more copies- which we never see him do.
    • First off, in the real world most of the nuclear arsenals were comprised of bomber-carried nukes, something that would take a long time to launch. Secondly, it would be literally impossible (from a time and economic standpoint) to build tens of thousands of missiles. More so, even if that is the case, and somehow Russia did build that many missiles, it would still depend on Dr. Manhattan, a person who can kill by thinking hard about someone, having to waste time "reacting" to a missile instead of just blanketing an area with death from space...something well within his powers, since he could teleport interplanetary distances. If the US was truly so threatened, there is no reason they could not make a first strike and have someone as powerful as him just annihilate Russia from orbit. And that assumes he can't use his duplication powers for more than a dozen clones, which is literally a Handwave to explain the plot hole. This is all moot, because we know the ACTUAL reason he does none of these things is because Alan Moore was more concerned with his asinine "message" about the Cold War and moral relativism and such to actually consider the fact that, logically, there is no reason that any feasible number of missiles that could be realistically built by any existing nation could possibly overwhelm Dr. Manhattan. By any kind of logical standard, even the fanciful one of a comic universe, Dr. Manhattan is a Game Breaker of the most outrageous degree, and unless Russia weaponized every scrap of nuclear material they have (a suggestion so ridiculous as to be laughable, if only for time and economic reasons, let alone technological ones) it would not threaten any country that has such a's kind of a comic example of Gameplay and Story Segregation.