History Main / ObstructiveBureaucrat

20th Feb '17 9:12:51 AM SeptimusHeap
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* ''Literature/WetDesertTrackingDownATerroristOnTheColoradoRiver'': The governor of Nevada delays the opening of the spillways at Hoover Dam when he's informed that people have to be evacuated in preparation from the towns beneath the dam.
14th Feb '17 8:22:25 PM AthenaBlue
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* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'':
** ''[[Literature/StarWarsAhsoka Ahsoka]]'' has an Imperial broker named Jenneth Pilar, who sends the Empire to out-of-the-way moon Raada so it can grow a plant used in nutritional supplements that renders the soil barren for years afterward, without any concern for the inhabitants that will be stuck there after the Empire is gone. He ends up having to flee Imperial service after things go pear-shaped.



* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Nightwatch}}'', Vimes refused to hand over people to the [[SecretPolice Unmentionables]] without a receipt. And proof of ID from the man who signed it. He insists that it is regulations -- though regulations that had not been enforced before due to watchmen being scared. This stops them for a while, as no member of the Unmentionables wants to have his name connected to what they do to people. And asking for proof of ID made sense since the Unmentionable who initially signed for the prisoners did so with the name "Henry the Hamster" and Vimes, quite reasonably, pointed out that he'd look a bit silly if he went back to his captain with that on a receipt.

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* As with in the humorous section, the New Testament of ''Literature/TheBible'' frequently painted the Pharisees as antagonists in this vein. It seems that one of Jesus's main purposes in coming back, aside from His sacrifice, was to clarify some very literal and twisted interpretations of Old Testament commandments. The Pharisees tried several times to catch Him in a logical contradiction using Hebraic code.
* Vice-Chancellor Nesselrode is portrayed as this in ''Literature/TheDeathOfTheVazirMukhtar''; he seems more funny at first, but his decisions, based on the high political considerations of avoiding all and any possible turbulence, could easily be fatal for some of his subordinates ([[spoiler: and end up being fatal for the Russian mission in Persia]]).
* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Literature/Discworld'':
** In
''Discworld/{{Nightwatch}}'', Vimes refused to hand over people to the [[SecretPolice Unmentionables]] without a receipt. And proof of ID from the man who signed it. He insists that it is regulations -- though regulations that had not been enforced before due to watchmen being scared. This stops them for a while, as no member of the Unmentionables wants to have his name connected to what they do to people. And asking for proof of ID made sense since the Unmentionable who initially signed for the prisoners did so with the name "Henry the Hamster" and Vimes, quite reasonably, pointed out that he'd look a bit silly if he went back to his captain with that on a receipt.



* ''The Small Back Room'' the novel (later film) by Nigel Balchin details the internal struggles of a team of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII scientists/public servants who are the embodiment of this trope. The team spends its time working on an anti-tank weapon that is theoretically efficient but has little practical field value. The protagonist is a decent yet weak man who fails to take the tough steps needed to improve matters, while his ManipulativeBastard friend delights in deposing those whom he's deemed incompetent, but ends up putting an even more incompetent man in charge of the team.
* Vice-Chancellor Nesselrode is portrayed as this in ''Literature/TheDeathOfTheVazirMukhtar''; he seems more funny at first, but his decisions, based on the high political considerations of avoiding all and any possible turbulence, could easily be fatal for some of his subordinates ([[spoiler: and end up being fatal for the Russian mission in Persia]]).



* In ''Literature/StarTrekGemworld'', there's Tangre Bertoran, and indeed most of the Jeptah (as the government elite maintaining Gemworld's environment are called). In contrast to most of the “normal” folk encountered on Gemworld (who tend to be pleasant and welcoming enough), the Jeptah - and Bertoran in particular - resent the presence of anyone trying to actually help rather than blindly follow the rules, and complicate plans to save the planet considerably.
* As with in the humorous section, the New Testament of the Bible frequently painted the Pharisees as antagonists in this vein. It seems that one of Jesus's main purposes in coming back, aside from His sacrifice, was to clarify some very literal and twisted interpretations of Old Testament commandments. The Pharisees tried several times to catch Him in a logical contradiction using Hebraic code.
* ''Literature/IRobot'': In "The Evitable Conflict", Stephen Byerley, Co ordinator of the Earth, suspects someone is sabotaging the Machines, powerful robots that advice the best decision to humanity, ''endangering the peace and stability of the entire planet''. He asks for help investigating this from the four Vice Co ordinators of the four regions in that Earth is divided. All dismiss the idea and none helps Byerley, insisting they are doing their jobs well. Justified, because [[spoiler: The Machines already control humanity and they will never let anyone capable of initiating an investigation have the job]].

to:

* The British Navy in the ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' books is sometimes worse than Napoleon. In ''Literature/StarTrekGemworld'', there's Tangre Bertoran, ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', they rescind his uncomfirmed promotion due to the Peace of Amiens and indeed then put him under ''complete'' pay stoppage until he's "repaid" the commander's salary he drew during that time--while he's furloughed in London in the middle of winter. He has to pawn most of his possessions and become a professional whist player to survive. In ''Hotspur'', the Jeptah (as the government elite maintaining Gemworld's environment are called). In contrast to most of the “normal” folk encountered supplies office gets on Gemworld (who tend to be pleasant and welcoming enough), the Jeptah - and Bertoran in particular - resent the presence of anyone trying to actually help rather than blindly follow the rules, and complicate plans to save the planet considerably.
* As with in the humorous section, the New Testament of the Bible frequently painted the Pharisees as antagonists in this vein. It seems that one of Jesus's main purposes in coming back, aside from His sacrifice, was to clarify some very literal and twisted interpretations of Old Testament commandments. The Pharisees tried several times to catch Him in a logical contradiction
his case for using Hebraic code.
what they deem is too much shot, powder, and cordage while at serious blockade work for months, but Cornwallis fortunately has his back there.
* ''Literature/IRobot'': In "The Evitable Conflict", Stephen Byerley, Co ordinator Coordinator of the Earth, suspects someone is sabotaging the Machines, powerful robots that advice the best decision to humanity, ''endangering the peace and stability of the entire planet''. He asks for help investigating this from the four Vice Co ordinators of the four regions in that Earth is divided. All dismiss the idea and none helps Byerley, insisting they are doing their jobs well. Justified, because [[spoiler: The Machines already control humanity and they will never let anyone capable of initiating an investigation have the job]].



* Near the end of ''Series/TheXFiles'' novel ''Ground Zero'' by Kevin J. Anderson, Mulder, Scully and four civilians are stranded on a boat far out in the Pacific Ocean. Mulder tries to call for help on his cell phone, finally reaching a tracking station whose operator tells him to get off the line because this is a restricted number. Even when Mulder says that he's making an emergency distress call, the operator tells him that he shouldn't be on this frequency and to "try the appropriate contact numbers." Mulder then suggests that they send someone out to arrest him for misusing the number. The tracking station does eventually send help, but still...

to:

* Near Sir Lionel of Trebond from the end of ''Series/TheXFiles'' novel ''Ground Zero'' by Kevin J. Anderson, Mulder, Scully and four civilians are stranded on a boat far out in second ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' book. He's the Pacific Ocean. Mulder tries to call for help on his cell phone, finally reaching a tracking station whose operator tells him to get off the line because this is a restricted number. Even Lord Provost of Port Caynn (DaChief, in other words), but when Mulder says that Beka and Goodwin arrive to investigate the colemongering he actually forbids them from doing any other policework. Nor does he allow his own officers to interfere much with all the crime a port city can generate. After [[BigBad Pearl Skinner]] threatened his family, he's making an emergency distress call, the operator tells him that he shouldn't be on this frequency and too scared of her retribution to "try the appropriate contact numbers." Mulder then suggests that they send someone out to arrest him for misusing the number. The tracking station does eventually send help, but still...curb her activities.



* The British Navy in the ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' books is sometimes worse than Napoleon. In ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', they rescind his uncomfirmed promotion due to the Peace of Amiens and then put him under ''complete'' pay stoppage until he's "repaid" the commander's salary he drew during that time--while he's furloughed in London in the middle of winter. He has to pawn most of his possessions and become a professional whist player to survive. In ''Hotspur'', the supplies office gets on his case for using what they deem is too much shot, powder, and cordage while at serious blockade work for months, but Cornwallis fortunately has his back there.
* Sir Lionel of Trebond from the second ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' book. He's the Lord Provost of Port Caynn (DaChief, in other words), but when Beka and Goodwin arrive to investigate the colemongering he actually forbids them from doing any other policework. Nor does he allow his own officers to interfere much with all the crime a port city can generate. After [[BigBad Pearl Skinner]] threatened his family, he's too scared of her retribution to curb her activities.

to:

* ''The Small Back Room'' the novel (later film) by Nigel Balchin details the internal struggles of a team of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII scientists/public servants who are the embodiment of this trope. The British Navy in team spends its time working on an anti-tank weapon that is theoretically efficient but has little practical field value. The protagonist is a decent yet weak man who fails to take the ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' books is sometimes worse than Napoleon. In ''Lieutenant Hornblower'', they rescind tough steps needed to improve matters, while his uncomfirmed promotion due to the Peace of Amiens and then put him under ''complete'' pay stoppage until ManipulativeBastard friend delights in deposing those whom he's "repaid" deemed incompetent, but ends up putting an even more incompetent man in charge of the commander's salary he drew during team.
* In ''Literature/StarTrekGemworld'', there's Tangre Bertoran, and indeed most of the Jeptah (as the government elite maintaining Gemworld's environment are called). In contrast to most of the “normal” folk encountered on Gemworld (who tend to be pleasant and welcoming enough), the Jeptah - and Bertoran in particular - resent the presence of anyone trying to actually help rather than blindly follow the rules, and complicate plans to save the planet considerably.
* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'':
** ''[[Literature/StarWarsAhsoka Ahsoka]]'' has an Imperial broker named Jenneth Pilar, who sends the Empire to out-of-the-way moon Raada so it can grow a plant used in nutritional supplements
that time--while renders the soil barren for years afterward, without any concern for the inhabitants that will be stuck there after the Empire is gone. He ends up having to flee Imperial service after things go pear-shaped.
* Near the end of ''Series/TheXFiles'' novel ''Ground Zero'' by Kevin J. Anderson, Mulder, Scully and four civilians are stranded on a boat far out in the Pacific Ocean. Mulder tries to call for help on his cell phone, finally reaching a tracking station whose operator tells him to get off the line because this is a restricted number. Even when Mulder says that
he's furloughed in London in making an emergency distress call, the middle of winter. He has to pawn most of his possessions operator tells him that he shouldn't be on this frequency and become a professional whist player to survive. In ''Hotspur'', "try the supplies office gets on his case for using what appropriate contact numbers." Mulder then suggests that they deem is too much shot, powder, and cordage while at serious blockade work send someone out to arrest him for months, but Cornwallis fortunately has his back there.
* Sir Lionel of Trebond from
misusing the second ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' book. He's the Lord Provost of Port Caynn (DaChief, in other words), but when Beka and Goodwin arrive to investigate the colemongering he actually forbids them from doing any other policework. Nor number. The tracking station does he allow his own officers to interfere much with all the crime a port city can generate. After [[BigBad Pearl Skinner]] threatened his family, he's too scared of her retribution to curb her activities.eventually send help, but still...
14th Feb '17 8:18:28 PM AthenaBlue
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* The Vogons from ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' are a PlanetOfHats of {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s. For the records, they're not evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious, and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.
** [[Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy The movie]] plays it up when the ''[[CoolShip Heart of Gold]]'' makes a HyperspeedEscape from the Vogon armada. Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz turns to a subordinate and asks if the criminals they're pursuing filled out the proper paperwork to do this. The subordinate is shocked to find out that they did not. Later on, Arthur, Ford, and Zaphod fill out the release form for Trillian, who is about to be executed, only to be told that, since Zaphod is the President of the Galaxy, he has to submit a ''Presidential'' Release Form. Jeltz, who is all too eager to execute Trillian is instantly pacified when he receives the release form and orders her freed. Also, when the heroes are escaping, Jeltz is about to order pursuit, when a factory whistle is heard, and Jeltz tells everyone to take an hour for lunch.

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* ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' has quite a few of these, but the biggest one is Ark Sool.
** Played with and subverted with Trouble Kelp.
* ''Literature/TheBible'': In the Book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon complains of the suffering caused by corrupt magistrates. Ecclesiastes is OlderThanFeudalism.
* In Creator/IsaacAsimov's short story "[[http://www.asimovreviews.net/Stories/Story023.html Blind Alley]]", a seemingly fussy bureaucrat, Loodun Antyok, manages to free an alien species kept under observation, all the while making sure he comes up smelling like roses.
* The Vogons from ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' are a PlanetOfHats of {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s. For ''Literature/BridgeInTheMenagerie'' series has the records, they're not evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious, and callous. They wouldn't Emeritus Professor of Bio-Sophistry, aka the Secretary Bird, who insists on pedantically enforcing obscure bridge rules even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from when everybody else at the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast table would rather just let the offence go and get on with it. [[HoistByHisOwnPetard The result of Traal without the pedantic rule enforcement is never to the Secretary Bird's advantage]].
* ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'' has a number of obstructive bureaucrats. Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen is a notable one -- he's just a mail clerk, but has become one of the most powerful men in the military because he can simply throw away any
orders signed he doesn't like.
** There's also a deadlier version
in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected the air units commander. Although never made clear why, he seems to public inquiry, lost again, have a personal grudge against all his men and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.
** [[Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy The movie]] plays it up when the ''[[CoolShip Heart of Gold]]'' makes a HyperspeedEscape from the Vogon armada. Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz turns
refuses to a subordinate and asks if the criminals they're pursuing filled out the proper paperwork allow any pilots, or bomber crew, to do this. The subordinate is shocked to find out return home. He specifically mentions that they did not. Later on, Arthur, Ford, and Zaphod fill out the release form for Trillian, who is about U.S. Army Air Corps requires a pilot to be executed, only given some time off after 25 missions but uses an oddly worded rule, which is meant to be told that, since Zaphod is used in extreme circumstances, to extend the President of the Galaxy, he has limit to submit first 50, 60 then 70 missions. For those unaware, a ''Presidential'' Release Form. Jeltz, who is all too eager bomber crew member was likely to execute Trillian is instantly pacified when he receives the release form and orders her freed. Also, when the heroes are escaping, Jeltz is about get injured or killed within 30 missions. He was essentially trying to order pursuit, when a factory whistle is heard, and Jeltz tells kill everyone who joined his command.
*** The original rule of 25 missions was set
to take an hour for lunch.give the average crew about a 50/50 chance of surviving to completion. As survival odds went up, so did the required missions. The commander is just more enthuiastic about it.
* Frank Herbert's ''[=ConSentiency=]'' universe has the "Bureau of Sabotage", whose job is to create or destroy red tape. However, [=BuSab=] obstructs the government to protect individual rights (when governments become ''too'' efficient, bad stuff occurs). Instead of paper work, the Bureau employs some rather humorous sabotage to get the job done. Jorj X. [=McKie=], saboteur extraordinary and protagonist, subverts the trope by speeding up a meeting in one story, as well as being sensitive to the alien cultures he works with.
* In Creator/SarahAHoyt's ''Literature/DarkshipThieves'', bureaucrats try to deny Kit permission to dock because Athena's on board.



* Frank Herbert's ''[=ConSentiency=]'' universe has the "Bureau of Sabotage", whose job is to create or destroy red tape. However, [=BuSab=] obstructs the government to protect individual rights (when governments become ''too'' efficient, bad stuff occurs). Instead of paper work, the Bureau employs some rather humorous sabotage to get the job done. Jorj X. [=McKie=], saboteur extraordinary and protagonist, subverts the trope by speeding up a meeting in one story, as well as being sensitive to the alien cultures he works with.

to:

* Frank Herbert's ''[=ConSentiency=]'' universe The Vogons from ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' are a PlanetOfHats of {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s. For the records, they're not evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious, and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.
** [[Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy The movie]] plays it up when the ''[[CoolShip Heart of Gold]]'' makes a HyperspeedEscape from the Vogon armada. Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz turns to a subordinate and asks if the criminals they're pursuing filled out the proper paperwork to do this. The subordinate is shocked to find out that they did not. Later on, Arthur, Ford, and Zaphod fill out the release form for Trillian, who is about to be executed, only to be told that, since Zaphod is the President of the Galaxy, he
has to submit a ''Presidential'' Release Form. Jeltz, who is all too eager to execute Trillian is instantly pacified when he receives the "Bureau of Sabotage", whose job is to create or destroy red tape. However, [=BuSab=] obstructs release form and orders her freed. Also, when the government heroes are escaping, Jeltz is about to protect individual rights (when governments become ''too'' efficient, bad stuff occurs). Instead of paper work, the Bureau employs some rather humorous sabotage to get the job done. Jorj X. [=McKie=], saboteur extraordinary order pursuit, when a factory whistle is heard, and protagonist, subverts the trope by speeding up a meeting in one story, as well as being sensitive Jeltz tells everyone to the alien cultures he works with.take an hour for lunch.



* Randy Pope, Joe's superior in Fish and Game in the ''Literature/JoePickett'' novels. Having risen through the ranks of the bureaucracy rather than being a field officer, he has little understanding of field work. Having a personal dislike of Joe, at one point he demands daily (rather than weekly reports) from Joe, and insists Joe clears any investigation with him before proceeding.
* In ''Literature/TheLaundryFiles'', almost all of the staff of the Laundry except field agents are obstructive bureaucrats that are more concerned with matrix management, powerpoint presentations and paperclip audits than with the things the Laundry is supposed to do, like saving the world from {{Eldritch Abomination}}s. The only aversion is Angleton, who stands at a weird position between AffablyEvil and ReasonableAuthorityFigure [[spoiler:and that is because he secretly is an extremely powerful demon. It seems nothing short of being the Eater of Souls can prevent the Laundry bureaucracy from turning you into a mindless cubicle drone.]]
* ''The Leaky Establishment'' by Creator/DavidLangford: This is how the Nuclear Utilisation Technology Centre operates. While it's supposedly their job to create and maintain Britain's Independent Deterrent, that's a long term goal, whereas the Public Relations Committee meet every Tuesday, and therefore the minutes of the last meeting have to be done ''now''. Scientists are frequently disturbed by Security men wishing to check that "valuable equipment" (cheap pocket calculators and ancient slide-rules) are still in the office and haven't been taken home, and the security measures at the front gate seem to be there purely to inconvenience people because that makes things ''look'' secure. However, since many of the scientists are rather sceptical about the nuclear deterrent they tend to the view that, while these things are hugely inconvenient for them personally, at least it stops them from actually making weapons, which is probably a good thing. (This situation is, of course, nothing like the real-world Atomic Weapons Establishment, [[WriteWhatYouKnow where Langford worked for five years]].)
* ''Little Dorritt'' by Charles Dickens has the Circumlocution Office, which is entirely made up of obstructive bureaucrats. A fair number of said bureaucrats are from the same family, the [[MeaningfulName Barnacles]].
* Parodied in one of the ''M.Y.T.H. Inc'' novels. The perspective characters are trying to sabotage an army. They end up in charge of a supply depot, which they hope to use for this purpose by deliberately screwing up 10% of all supply requests. They are thwarted by Obstructive Bureaucrats in an unusual way: First, they categorically refuse to use the horrifically convoluted official record-keeping procedures, inventing their own, just because they don't want to deal with the paperwork, making the processing once requisitions get to them much faster. Second, because of the long delays caused by the bureaucrats in getting the requisitions to the supply depots, the 'accidental' mistakes often improved things (Like sending summer-weight uniforms to a unit that requested winter-weight uniforms and vice versa, not realizing that the units in question had since been redeployed to areas with warmer or colder climates). [[SpringtimeForHitler As a result, their sabotage made their depot the most efficient facility in the army.]]



* ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'' has a number of obstructive bureaucrats. Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen is a notable one -- he's just a mail clerk, but has become one of the most powerful men in the military because he can simply throw away any orders he doesn't like.
** There's also a deadlier version in the air units commander. Although never made clear why, he seems to have a personal grudge against all his men and refuses to allow any pilots, or bomber crew, to return home. He specifically mentions that the U.S. Army Air Corps requires a pilot to be given some time off after 25 missions but uses an oddly worded rule, which is meant to be used in extreme circumstances, to extend the limit to first 50, 60 then 70 missions. For those unaware, a bomber crew member was likely to get injured or killed within 30 missions. He was essentially trying to kill everyone who joined his command.
*** The original rule of 25 missions was set to give the average crew about a 50/50 chance of surviving to completion. As survival odds went up, so did the required missions. The commander is just more enthuiastic about it.

to:

* ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'' has a number of In the ''Literature/PaladinOfShadows'' series, obstructive bureaucrats. Ex-P.F.C. Wintergreen is a notable one -- he's just a mail clerk, but has become one of bureaucrats (particularly US government ones) are occasional roadblocks to the most powerful men in the military because he can simply throw away any orders he doesn't like.
** There's also a deadlier version in the air units commander. Although never made clear why, he seems to have a
Keldara doing their jobs. However, since their boss is personal grudge against friends with the President of the United States, the bureaucrats don't remain obstructive for very long.
* In ''Literature/ThePaleKing'', The Author's Foreword includes a lengthy description of
all his men and refuses to allow any pilots, or bomber crew, to return home. He specifically mentions the legal issues that went along with the U.S. Army Air Corps requires a pilot to be given some time off creation of the book. Everything involving David Foster Wallace's entry into the IRS, with the sole exception of Leonard Stecyk.
** The horrendously complex and ultimately bungled [[spoiler: wrongful death lawsuit
after 25 missions but uses an oddly worded rule, which is meant Chris Fogle's father dies.]]
** After [[spoiler: his experience in Advanced Tax class, Chris tries
to be used in extreme circumstances, make up for his mistakes by going to extend the limit to first 50, 60 then 70 missions. For those unaware, dean and begging for a bomber crew member was likely to get injured or killed within 30 missions. He was essentially trying to kill everyone who joined his command.
*** The original rule of 25 missions was set to give the average crew about a 50/50
chance of surviving to completion. As survival odds went up, so did the required missions. salvage his college career. The commander is just more enthuiastic about it.dean laughs in his face.]]



* In Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/TheWarriorsApprentice'' the Barrayaran embassy on Beta Colony maintains a bureaucratic black hole into which Betans who have grievances against Barrayaran citizens will be "swallowed up in an endless möbius loop of files, forms, and reports, kept especially for such occasions by the extremely competent staff. The forms included some particularly creative ones that had to be round-tripped on the six-week journey back to Barrayar itself, and were guaranteed to be sent back several times for minor errors in execution. ... 'It works great with Betans -- they're perfectly happy, because all the time they think they're doing something to you.'"



* ''Little Dorritt'' by Charles Dickens has the Circumlocution Office, which is entirely made up of obstructive bureaucrats. A fair number of said bureaucrats are from the same family, the [[MeaningfulName Barnacles]].
* ''Literature/TheBible'': In the Book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon complains of the suffering caused by corrupt magistrates. Ecclesiastes is OlderThanFeudalism.
* ''The Leaky Establishment'' by Creator/DavidLangford: This is how the Nuclear Utilisation Technology Centre operates. While it's supposedly their job to create and maintain Britain's Independent Deterrent, that's a long term goal, whereas the Public Relations Committee meet every Tuesday, and therefore the minutes of the last meeting have to be done ''now''. Scientists are frequently disturbed by Security men wishing to check that "valuable equipment" (cheap pocket calculators and ancient slide-rules) are still in the office and haven't been taken home, and the security measures at the front gate seem to be there purely to inconvenience people because that makes things ''look'' secure. However, since many of the scientists are rather sceptical about the nuclear deterrent they tend to the view that, while these things are hugely inconvenient for them personally, at least it stops them from actually making weapons, which is probably a good thing. (This situation is, of course, nothing like the real-world Atomic Weapons Establishment, [[WriteWhatYouKnow where Langford worked for five years]].)



* Literature/ArtemisFowl has quite a few of these, but the biggest one is Ark Sool.
** Played with and subverted with Trouble Kelp.
* The ''Literature/BridgeInTheMenagerie'' series has the Emeritus Professor of Bio-Sophistry, aka the Secretary Bird, who insists on pedantically enforcing obscure bridge rules even when everybody else at the table would rather just let the offence go and get on with it. [[HoistByHisOwnPetard The result of the pedantic rule enforcement is never to the Secretary Bird's advantage]].
* Parodied in one of the ''M.Y.T.H. Inc'' novels. The perspective characters are trying to sabotage an army. They end up in charge of a supply depot, which they hope to use for this purpose by deliberately screwing up 10% of all supply requests. They are thwarted by Obstructive Bureaucrats in an unusual way: First, they categorically refuse to use the horrifically convoluted official record-keeping procedures, inventing their own, just because they don't want to deal with the paperwork, making the processing once requisitions get to them much faster. Second, because of the long delays caused by the bureaucrats in getting the requisitions to the supply depots, the 'accidental' mistakes often improved things (Like sending summer-weight uniforms to a unit that requested winter-weight uniforms and vice versa, not realizing that the units in question had since been redeployed to areas with warmer or colder climates). [[SpringtimeForHitler As a result, their sabotage made their depot the most efficient facility in the army.]]



* In ''War Story'', the adjutant (Executive Officer), charged with keeping the squadron in essential stores, is a corrupt gambling addict at the end of a chain of corruption. As a result the airmen are on basic rations with no coal for heating as the officer charged with providing food and warmth has gambled it away. The situation is only resolved with a change of personnel and a barter system, based on food parcels containing sought-after luxury items sent by rich relatives of affluent officers. The old Adjutant is demoted and sent to a penal regiment, whose ex-con soldiers kill him when they discover he's gambled away their rum ration.
* In ''Goshawk Squadron'', an officious senior officer is humbled by Wooley and forced to provide the sort of luxuries only issued to General Staff officers far behind the front lines.
* In ''A Piece of Cake'', half the squadron's aircraft are grounded for want of essential spare parts. An unhelpful stres depot will not issue them unless the correct paperwork is filled in properly. The squadron does not have the official forms to requisition spare parts. The Air Ministry maintain these have been sent out and you're not getting any more. A new CO mounts an armed raid on the deopt and takes what he needs at gunpoint. The enraged bureaucrat catches up with the squadron in France and threatens court-martials. A killer pilot is sent to strafe his car to destruction, which is later blamed on the Luftwaffe.
* And there is the vexing issue of the pilots' pay... (See under Creator/DerekRobinson)
* In ''Literature/ThePaleKing'', The Author's Foreword includes a lengthy description of all the legal issues that went along with the creation of the book. Everything involving David Foster Wallace's entry into the IRS, with the sole exception of Leonard Stecyk.
** The horrendously complex and ultimately bungled [[spoiler: wrongful death lawsuit after Chris Fogle's father dies.]]
** After [[spoiler: his experience in Advanced Tax class, Chris tries to make up for his mistakes by going to the dean and begging for a chance to salvage his college career. The dean laughs in his face.]]

to:

* ** In ''War Story'', the adjutant (Executive Officer), charged with keeping the squadron in essential stores, is a corrupt gambling addict at the end of a chain of corruption. As a result the airmen are on basic rations with no coal for heating as the officer charged with providing food and warmth has gambled it away. The situation is only resolved with a change of personnel and a barter system, based on food parcels containing sought-after luxury items sent by rich relatives of affluent officers. The old Adjutant is demoted and sent to a penal regiment, whose ex-con soldiers kill him when they discover he's gambled away their rum ration.
* ** In ''Goshawk Squadron'', an officious senior officer is humbled by Wooley and forced to provide the sort of luxuries only issued to General Staff officers far behind the front lines.
* ** In ''A Piece of Cake'', half the squadron's aircraft are grounded for want of essential spare parts. An unhelpful stres depot will not issue them unless the correct paperwork is filled in properly. The squadron does not have the official forms to requisition spare parts. The Air Ministry maintain these have been sent out and you're not getting any more. A new CO mounts an armed raid on the deopt and takes what he needs at gunpoint. The enraged bureaucrat catches up with the squadron in France and threatens court-martials. A killer pilot is sent to strafe his car to destruction, which is later blamed on the Luftwaffe.
* ** And there is the vexing issue of the pilots' pay... (See under Creator/DerekRobinson)
* In ''Literature/ThePaleKing'', The Author's Foreword includes a lengthy description of From ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' we have the [[SmugSnake ever-charming]] [[TheClan House]] [[HateSink Frey]], headed by [[{{Troll}} Lord Walder Frey]]. They somehow manage to combine all the legal issues best features of this trope with those of CorruptBureaucrat and CrookedContractor, and, to top it off, are operators of what amounts to a glorified TrollBridge that went along with brings in the creation bulk of the book. Everything involving David Foster Wallace's entry into tax revenue for their part of the IRS, with the sole exception of Leonard Stecyk.
** The horrendously complex and ultimately bungled [[spoiler: wrongful death lawsuit after Chris Fogle's father dies.]]
** After [[spoiler: his experience in Advanced Tax class, Chris tries
Riverlands. If they want to make up for his mistakes you wait to cross their bridge, they will find a way to do it, dammit, using protocol and standard hospitality at its most excruciatingly drawn-out worst, if necessary, to do it. Do they use ExactWords and/or [[MetaphoricallyTrue various statements]] as part of their deals and treaties with you and DisproportionateRetribution if you somehow break them by going their lights, no matter how good or reasonable your reasons may appear? Mayhaps.
* In the second book of ''Literature/TheSouthernReachTrilogy'', Control is appointed as the new director of the Southern Reach. His secretary immediately makes it known in no uncertain terms that she is still loyal
to the dean old director and begging for a chance will go to salvage his college career. The dean laughs every length to undermine anything he attempts to do and sabotage any change he attempts to make.
-->'''Grace''': I have no comment on your recommendations, except to say that I will begin to implement them
in his face.]]as excruciatingly slow a fashion as possible. You should begin to see a few of them -- like, 'buy a new floor cleaner', in place by next quarter. Possibly. Maybe.



* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'':
** ''[[Literature/StarWarsAhsoka Ahsoka]]'' has an Imperial broker named Jenneth Pilar, who sends the Empire to out-of-the-way moon Raada so it can grow a plant used in nutritional supplements that renders the soil barren for years afterward, without any concern for the inhabitants that will be stuck there after the Empire is gone. He ends up having to flee Imperial service after things go pear-shaped.
* A mix of types from the Azir in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''. They are obsessed with paperwork, requiring proper forms for everything from prisoner transport to requisitioning snacks. On the other hand, they're a meritocracy in a world otherwise ruled by feuding warlords, and anyone has a chance to rule the country if they submit the proper forms and write a particularly good essay. When an assassin is flying around the world killing princes and kings, every country is descending into in-fighting and anarchy--every country except Azir, where the mere possibility of a civil war is dismissed as "too much paperwork."



* In Creator/IsaacAsimov's short story "[[http://www.asimovreviews.net/Stories/Story023.html Blind Alley]]", a seemingly fussy bureaucrat, Loodun Antyok, manages to free an alien species kept under observation, all the while making sure he comes up smelling like roses.
* In Creator/SarahAHoyt's ''Literature/DarkshipThieves'', bureaucrats try to deny Kit permission to dock because Athena's on board.
* In the ''Literature/PaladinOfShadows'' series, obstructive bureaucrats (particularly US government ones) are occasional roadblocks to the Keldara doing their jobs. However, since their boss is personal friends with the President of the United States, the bureaucrats don't remain obstructive for very long.
* In ''Literature/TheLaundryFiles'', almost all of the staff of the Laundry except field agents are obstructive bureaucrats that are more concerned with matrix management, powerpoint presentations and paperclip audits than with the things the Laundry is supposed to do, like saving the world from {{Eldritch Abomination}}s. The only aversion is Angleton, who stands at a weird position between AffablyEvil and ReasonableAuthorityFigure [[spoiler:and that is because he secretly is an extremely powerful demon. It seems nothing short of being the Eater of Souls can prevent the Laundry bureaucracy from turning you into a mindless cubicle drone.]]
* From ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' we have the [[SmugSnake ever-charming]] [[TheClan House]] [[HateSink Frey]], headed by [[{{Troll}} Lord Walder Frey]]. They somehow manage to combine all the best features of this trope with those of CorruptBureaucrat and CrookedContractor, and, to top it off, are operators of what amounts to a glorified TrollBridge that brings in the bulk of the tax revenue for their part of the Riverlands. If they want to make you wait to cross their bridge, they will find a way to do it, dammit, using protocol and standard hospitality at its most excruciatingly drawn-out worst, if necessary, to do it. Do they use ExactWords and/or [[MetaphoricallyTrue various statements]] as part of their deals and treaties with you and DisproportionateRetribution if you somehow break them by their lights, no matter how good or reasonable your reasons may appear? Mayhaps.
* A mix of types from the Azir in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''. They are obsessed with paperwork, requiring proper forms for everything from prisoner transport to requisitioning snacks. On the other hand, they're a meritocracy in a world otherwise ruled by feuding warlords, and anyone has a chance to rule the country if they submit the proper forms and write a particularly good essay. When an assassin is flying around the world killing princes and kings, every country is descending into in-fighting and anarchy--every country except Azir, where the mere possibility of a civil war is dismissed as "too much paperwork."
* In the second book of ''Literature/TheSouthernReachTrilogy'', Control is appointed as the new director of the Southern Reach. His secretary immediately makes it known in no uncertain terms that she is still loyal to the old director and will go to every length to undermine anything he attempts to do and sabotage any change he attempts to make.
-->'''Grace''': I have no comment on your recommendations, except to say that I will begin to implement them in as excruciatingly slow a fashion as possible. You should begin to see a few of them -- like, 'buy a new floor cleaner', in place by next quarter. Possibly. Maybe.
* Randy Pope, Joe's superior in Fish and Game in the ''Literature/JoePickett'' novels. Having risen through the ranks of the bureaucracy rather than being a field officer, he has little understanding of field work. Having a personal dislike of Joe, at one point he demands daily (rather than weekly reports) from Joe, and insists Joe clears any investigation with him before proceeding.

to:

* In Creator/IsaacAsimov's short story "[[http://www.asimovreviews.net/Stories/Story023.html Blind Alley]]", Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/TheWarriorsApprentice'' the Barrayaran embassy on Beta Colony maintains a seemingly fussy bureaucrat, Loodun Antyok, manages to free bureaucratic black hole into which Betans who have grievances against Barrayaran citizens will be "swallowed up in an alien species endless möbius loop of files, forms, and reports, kept under observation, all especially for such occasions by the while making sure he comes up smelling like roses.
* In Creator/SarahAHoyt's ''Literature/DarkshipThieves'', bureaucrats try to deny Kit permission to dock because Athena's on board.
* In the ''Literature/PaladinOfShadows'' series, obstructive bureaucrats (particularly US government ones) are occasional roadblocks to the Keldara doing their jobs. However, since their boss is personal friends with the President of the United States, the bureaucrats don't remain obstructive for very long.
* In ''Literature/TheLaundryFiles'', almost all of the staff of the Laundry except field agents are obstructive bureaucrats that are more concerned with matrix management, powerpoint presentations and paperclip audits than with the things the Laundry is supposed to do, like saving the world from {{Eldritch Abomination}}s. The only aversion is Angleton, who stands at a weird position between AffablyEvil and ReasonableAuthorityFigure [[spoiler:and that is because he secretly is an
extremely powerful demon. It seems nothing short of being the Eater of Souls can prevent the Laundry bureaucracy from turning you into a mindless cubicle drone.]]
* From ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' we have the [[SmugSnake ever-charming]] [[TheClan House]] [[HateSink Frey]], headed by [[{{Troll}} Lord Walder Frey]]. They somehow manage to combine all the best features of this trope with those of CorruptBureaucrat and CrookedContractor, and, to top it off, are operators of what amounts to a glorified TrollBridge that brings in the bulk of the tax revenue for their part of the Riverlands. If they want to make you wait to cross their bridge, they will find a way to do it, dammit, using protocol and standard hospitality at its most excruciatingly drawn-out worst, if necessary, to do it. Do they use ExactWords and/or [[MetaphoricallyTrue various statements]] as part of their deals and treaties with you and DisproportionateRetribution if you somehow break them by their lights, no matter how good or reasonable your reasons may appear? Mayhaps.
* A mix of types from the Azir in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''. They are obsessed with paperwork, requiring proper
competent staff. The forms included some particularly creative ones that had to be round-tripped on the six-week journey back to Barrayar itself, and were guaranteed to be sent back several times for everything from prisoner transport to requisitioning snacks. On the other hand, minor errors in execution. ... 'It works great with Betans -- they're a meritocracy in a world otherwise ruled by feuding warlords, and anyone has a chance to rule perfectly happy, because all the country if time they submit the proper forms and write a particularly good essay. When an assassin is flying around the world killing princes and kings, every country is descending into in-fighting and anarchy--every country except Azir, where the mere possibility of a civil war is dismissed as "too much paperwork."
* In the second book of ''Literature/TheSouthernReachTrilogy'', Control is appointed as the new director of the Southern Reach. His secretary immediately makes it known in no uncertain terms that she is still loyal
think they're doing something to the old director and will go to every length to undermine anything he attempts to do and sabotage any change he attempts to make.
-->'''Grace''': I have no comment on your recommendations, except to say that I will begin to implement them in as excruciatingly slow a fashion as possible. You should begin to see a few of them -- like, 'buy a new floor cleaner', in place by next quarter. Possibly. Maybe.
* Randy Pope, Joe's superior in Fish and Game in the ''Literature/JoePickett'' novels. Having risen through the ranks of the bureaucracy rather than being a field officer, he has little understanding of field work. Having a personal dislike of Joe, at one point he demands daily (rather than weekly reports) from Joe, and insists Joe clears any investigation with him before proceeding.
you.'"



* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': Miss Brooks runs into an obstructive clerk in "The Embezzled Dress". Mrs. Davis accidently uses school money to buy Miss Brooks a present from Sherry's Department Store. Miss Brooks tries to return the dress to Sherry's, a store that promises if the customer isn't satisfied the money will be [[BlatantLies "cheerfully refunded"]]. After being given the third degree on the reason for the return, Miss Brooks is turned down because the dress was sold on sale.

to:

* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': Miss Brooks runs into an obstructive clerk ''Series/TwentyFour'' ''always'' had one in "The Embezzled Dress". Mrs. Davis accidently uses school money there to buy Miss Brooks a present from Sherry's Department Store. Miss Brooks tries to return get in the dress to Sherry's, way of stopping a store that promises if the customer isn't satisfied the money will be [[BlatantLies "cheerfully refunded"]]. After terrorist attack. The most memorable of which being given Ryan Chappelle in the third degree on first three seasons, who essentially was an insufferable pain in the reason ass that got in Jack's way everywhere he went, yet had arguably the most [[AlasPoorScrappy emotionally-jarring]] death of the series.
** ''Briefly'' subverted on Day 5 by [=Lynn McGill=]. When Jack (who had been in hiding for two years) uses an out-of-date distress code, [=McGill=] is the only one anal and methodical enough to recognize and research it, thereby saving the day. Of course, after that brief moment, he reverts to playing this trope completely straight, eventually crossing into TyrantTakesTheHelm territory.
* In Nickelodeon's TV show ''Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete'', the younger Pete befriends Clothing Inspector #34, who proceeds to make the entire neighborhood rule mongers equal to himself. [[spoiler: Finally defeated when Pete challenges him to an eating contest of barbeque chicken. Inspector 34 finishes every bit of meat on his chicken without getting a bit of sauce on his hands or clothes. Only to be reminded by Dad "You're supposed to get dirty eating chicken." Causing Inspector 27 to realize the error of his ways, and not be such a perfectionist.]]
* ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'':
** One episode involved a world with extremely strict bureaucratic procedures. Interacting with them gave Tyr a lovely line (which the audience likely agrees with) after listening to a message summed up as "You don't have an appointment, please hold"
for the return, Miss Brooks umpteenth time:
---> '''Tyr:''' ''[deadpan]'' ... Now can we blow them up?
** Followed by this exchange:
---> '''Beka Valentine:''' What if I told you we have forty missile tubes locked on your capital city, ready to fire if I don't get some straight answers?\\
'''Clerk:''' ''[calmly]'' You'd still need an appointment.
* In ''Series/AshesToAshes'', Jim Keats
is turned initially made out to be this.
* A frequent visitor on ''Series/BarneyMiller''. Often it's the higher-ups in the department, or the gleefully malicious Scanlan of Internal Affairs, but there are many officials from the state and federal government who get drawn into whatever crazy case is going on.
* In ''Series/{{Blindspot}}'', Jonas Fischer is a particularly malignant version, cynically using his powers as Chief Inspector of the Office of Professional Responsibility to [[spoiler:shut
down because an investigation that would have revealed that he's a double agent for the dress was sold on sale.FSB]].



** Leader Clent in "The Ice Warriors" insists on doing everything based on what the computer tells him to do, even though huge scaly defrosted green men from Mars have bunkered down in a dead spaceship and are trying to kill the scientists out of paranoia and there is [[OutsideContextProblem no way the computer could possibly have a plan to deal with them]]. Several times in the story, characters get a plan in motion only to have Clent scupper it due to lack of input from the computer. Everybody else in the base is frustrated with his behaviour but powerless to do anything about it, and one has even dropped out of civilisation entirely and gone to live in an icy wilderness due to being sick of Clent.
** The Pertwee era is littered with these guys. They often show up, briefcase in hand, to slow down UNIT proceedings and the Doctor has to verbally bitchslap them down before he can get anything done. Horatio Chinn, in "The Claws of Axos", is one of these.

to:

** Leader Clent in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS5E3TheIceWarriors "The Ice Warriors" Warriors"]] insists on doing everything based on what the computer tells him to do, even though huge scaly defrosted green men from Mars have bunkered down in a dead spaceship and are trying to kill the scientists out of paranoia and there is [[OutsideContextProblem no way the computer could possibly have a plan to deal with them]]. Several times in the story, characters get a plan in motion only to have Clent scupper it due to lack of input from the computer. Everybody else in the base is frustrated with his behaviour but powerless to do anything about it, and one has even dropped out of civilisation entirely and gone to live in an icy wilderness due to being sick of Clent.
** The Pertwee era is littered with these guys. They often show up, briefcase in hand, to slow down UNIT proceedings and the Doctor has to verbally bitchslap them down before he can get anything done. Horatio Chinn, in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS8E3TheClawsOfAxos "The Claws of Axos", Axos"]], is one of these.



*** In "Carnival of Monsters", two LoveableRogue carnies spend the entire plot stuck in a torturous [[OverreactingAirportSecurity border control]] waiting area, being bullied by (literal) grey-faced bureaucrats (who are trying to engineer a political coup).
*** In "The Ark in Space", Harry isn't useful in medical emergencies despite being a Navy doctor, because he "is only qualified to work on sailors".
*** In "The Seeds of Doom", the Fourth Doctor points out that the latest alien invasion would, if successful, "mean the end of everything, even your pension!" The civil servant looks [[SkewedPriorities suitably aghast]].
*** Previous Time Lord episodes had portrayed them as BigGood CrystalSpiresAndTogas figures. When Robert Holmes got his hands on them in "The Deadly Assassin" , they were reimagined as a bunch of shiftless, dusty politicians obsessed with pompous ritual, who can be caught out with legal loopholes and forcing them to answer straight questions.
*** "The Sun Makers" revolves around a fascistically evil and abusive tax collection regimen.
*** "The Ultimate Foe" features Mr Popplewick, a Dickensian factory owner and dull-minded bean-counter, who bares perhaps some resemblance to the abuse the BBC were subjecting their writers to.
** In "Paradise Towers," the police organization is ''hilarious,'' insisting on using their long designations every single time they needed to address anyone, and quoting the rule book every single time they did anything.
* Richard Woolsey from ''Series/StargateSG1'' and ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' is exactly this. Even though he strictly believes in rules, he is generally benign and fair, although annoying. When he took command of Atlantis, the initial reaction was that [[TyrantTakesTheHelm A Tyrant Has Taken The Helm]], exactly because of this trope. However, he turned out to be a [[BaitAndSwitchTyrant capable leader]] after all.
** Even once he becomes a good guy Woolsey, uniquely, remains a bureaucrat. In fact he gets a few CMOA out of his skills as a lawyer and underhanded politician.
*** Senator Kinsey also counts. In his first appearance he tries to get the Stargate Program shut down, under the guise that it's a money pit and exposes the Earth to unnecessary dangers. While he's right, the fact that he's trying to take on a more advanced race with regular weapons and believes God wouldn't let them lose is what cements him as this trope. Later on, he's shown to be working with a GovernmentConspiracy that wants to handle interplanetary relations their way, accusing the SGC of being "too soft". This includes them slaughtering millions of Jaffa, not caring whether the planets they attack are home to Free Jaffa or Jaffa that serve the Goa'uld, thus tacking on "hypocrite" to the above (which he also justifies by citing the Bible).
*** Kinsey's actions, even as part of a conspiracy, are absolutely ungodly stupid. They seem to believe that they could defeat the Goa'uld by stealing certain pieces of alien technology from the Tolan, Tok'ra, and even Asgard and Ancient tech. They never seem to consider that without the help of these guys, especially the Asgard, Earth would have been conquered, glassed and/or shattered by at least a dozen different bad guys.
*** There's also the fact that his initial objection about exposing Earth to alien threats ignores the fact that you can't put the genie back in the bottle. Earth had ''already'' been exposed to the Goa'uld, and shutting down the Stargate program wouldn't make them go away or ignore Earth. It would just require them to take (very slightly) longer to attack using spaceships (a point made by Col. O'Neill in the pilot and during the episode in question). Which they do. The very next episode. Understandably, after the shit had barely missed the fan, the rest of the government told Kinsey to put a sock in it and overruled him.
** Camile Wray of ''Series/StargateUniverse'', given her status as a member of the IOA. Of course, she is also trying to take over the ship, so she's the darker variant. She gets better after things have settled down.
** The entire IOA counts as this. After watching enough of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', you would think the only decisions they make is to put the blame on whoever else they can.
** The Franchise/StargateVerse sort of has a revolving door of them. Either like Woolsey, they see what's going on and become more [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure reasonable]] over the years, or like Kinsey, they get ''worse'' and get into a much more antagonistic role than just being the guy whose turn it is to say "the SGC is costing too much money" this year. Either way, this means it's time to bring in the next and start the cycle again.

to:

*** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS10E2CarnivalOfMonsters "Carnival of Monsters", Monsters"]], two LoveableRogue carnies spend the entire plot stuck in a torturous [[OverreactingAirportSecurity border control]] waiting area, being bullied by (literal) grey-faced bureaucrats (who are trying to engineer a political coup).
*** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS12E2TheArkInSpace "The Ark in Space", Space"]], Harry isn't useful in medical emergencies despite being a Navy doctor, because he "is only qualified to work on sailors".
*** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E6TheSeedsOfDoom "The Seeds of Doom", Doom"]], the Fourth Doctor points out that the latest alien invasion would, if successful, "mean the end of everything, even your pension!" The civil servant looks [[SkewedPriorities suitably aghast]].
*** Previous Time Lord episodes had portrayed them as BigGood CrystalSpiresAndTogas figures. When Robert Holmes got his hands on them in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS14E3TheDeadlyAssassin "The Deadly Assassin" , Assassin"]], they were reimagined as a bunch of shiftless, dusty politicians obsessed with pompous ritual, who can be caught out with legal loopholes and forcing them to answer straight questions.
*** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS15E4TheSunMakers "The Sun Makers" Makers"]] revolves around a fascistically evil and abusive tax collection regimen.
*** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS23E4TheUltimateFoe "The Ultimate Foe" Foe"]] features Mr Mr. Popplewick, a Dickensian factory owner and dull-minded bean-counter, who bares bears perhaps some resemblance to the abuse the BBC were subjecting their writers to.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS24E2ParadiseTowers "Paradise Towers," Towers"]], the police organization is ''hilarious,'' ''hilarious'', insisting on using their long designations every single time they needed to address anyone, and quoting the rule book every single time they did anything.
* Richard Woolsey from ''Series/StargateSG1'' and ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' is exactly this. Even though he strictly believes This trope [[IncrediblyLamePun occurs]] enough times in rules, he is generally benign and fair, although annoying. When he took command of Atlantis, the initial reaction was ''GavinAndStacey'' that [[TyrantTakesTheHelm A Tyrant Has Taken The Helm]], exactly because of this trope. However, he turned out one has to be a [[BaitAndSwitchTyrant capable leader]] after all.
** Even once he becomes a good guy Woolsey, uniquely, remains a bureaucrat. In fact he gets a few CMOA out of his skills as a lawyer and underhanded politician.
*** Senator Kinsey also counts. In his first appearance he tries to get the Stargate Program shut down, under the guise that it's a money pit and exposes the Earth to unnecessary dangers. While he's right, the fact that he's trying to take on a more advanced race with regular weapons and believes God wouldn't let them lose is what cements him as this trope. Later on, he's shown to be working with a GovernmentConspiracy that wants to handle interplanetary relations their way, accusing the SGC of being "too soft". This includes them slaughtering millions of Jaffa, not caring
wonder whether the planets they attack are home to Free Jaffa or Jaffa that serve the Goa'uld, thus tacking on "hypocrite" to the above (which he also justifies by citing the Bible).
*** Kinsey's actions, even as part of a conspiracy, are absolutely ungodly stupid. They seem to believe that they could defeat the Goa'uld by stealing certain pieces of alien technology from the Tolan, Tok'ra, and even Asgard and Ancient tech. They never seem to consider that without the help of these guys, especially the Asgard, Earth would
creators have been conquered, glassed and/or shattered by at least a dozen different bad guys.
*** There's also
on the fact that receiving end of this trope in RealLife once too often.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': In the season eight episode "Need To Know", the CIA Director and
his initial objection about exposing Earth attorney tries to alien threats ignores block the fact that you can't put Navy's attempt to declassify material relating to a secret joint Navy-CIA submarine mission in 1968 in which the genie back in sub sank near the bottle. Earth had ''already'' been exposed to Soviet coastlline.
* In ''Series/{{Lexx}}'',
the Goa'uld, and shutting down entire city of [[UsefulNotes/{{Toronto}} Hogtown]] [[spoiler:in the Stargate program wouldn't make them go away or ignore Earth. It would just require afterlife for evil souls]] is populated by these types. [[spoiler:The devil simply leaves them to take (very slightly) longer their own devices, [[EvenEvilHasStandards preferring to attack using spaceships (a point made by Col. O'Neill avoid contact with them]].]]
* The humourless foyer administrator
in the pilot and during the episode in question). Which children's TV show ''Series/LiftOff'' dug up a rule banning something new every episode...including, at one point, carrying around ''a ban sign with a mirror on it''. That one [[HoistByHisOwnPetard backfired when they do. The very next episode. Understandably, after the shit had barely missed the fan, the rest of the government told Kinsey got him to put a sock in it and overruled him.
** Camile Wray of ''Series/StargateUniverse'', given her status as a member of the IOA. Of course, she is also trying to take over the ship, so she's the darker variant. She gets better after things have settled down.
** The entire IOA counts as this. After watching enough of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', you would think the only decisions they make is to put the blame on whoever else they can.
** The Franchise/StargateVerse sort of has a revolving door of them. Either like Woolsey, they see what's going on and become more [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure reasonable]] over the years, or like Kinsey, they get ''worse'' and get into a much more antagonistic role than just being the guy whose
turn it around]].
* This trope
is to say "the SGC is costing too much money" this year. Either way, this means it's time to bring the premise of the Austrian show ''MA2412'', with the Obstructive Bureaucrats as protagonists.
* ''Series/TheMagicians2016'': The library
in the next and start the cycle again.Neitherlands runs on one. Creator/FranzKafka wrote ''Literature/TheTrial'' after a week there.



* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': Miss Brooks runs into an obstructive clerk in "The Embezzled Dress". Mrs. Davis accidently uses school money to buy Miss Brooks a present from Sherry's Department Store. Miss Brooks tries to return the dress to Sherry's, a store that promises if the customer isn't satisfied the money will be [[BlatantLies "cheerfully refunded"]]. After being given the third degree on the reason for the return, Miss Brooks is turned down because the dress was sold on sale.
* "Marks" on ''{{Series/Overhaulin}}'' tend to run into these in the quest to retrieve their stolen or erroneously impounded cars. They're usually played by the hosts or other members of the production crew.



* In the Brazilian musical special for kids ''Plunct Plact Zuum''– about a group of kids who want to explore space in a customized, weird-looking spaceship (the “Plunct Plact Zuum” from the title)– late rockstar Raul Seixas played an Obstructive Bureaucrat [[RecycledInSpace from space!]] To him, even ''[[UpToEleven the sun]]'' should have an ID card. He says that “[[TitleDrop Plunct Plact Zuum]] won’t go anywhere”, unless it’s sealed, registered, stamped, examined and labeled. Ultimetely, however, he [[PetTheDog sympathizes with the kids]], confessing that he wanted to go with them, but can’t leave his job. Then, he lets them go and [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming wishes them a good journey]].
* Otto Palindrome from ''Series/{{Quark}}'', who often sends Quark on various garbage picking missions.



* Otto Palindrome from ''Series/{{Quark}}'', who often sends Quark on various garbage picking missions.
* This trope [[IncrediblyLamePun occurs]] enough times in ''GavinAndStacey'' that one has to wonder whether the creators have been on the receiving end of this trope in RealLife once too often.
* In ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', the entire city of [[UsefulNotes/{{Toronto}} Hogtown]] [[spoiler:in the afterlife for evil souls]] is populated by these types. [[spoiler:The devil simply leaves them to their own devices, [[EvenEvilHasStandards preferring to avoid contact with them]].]]

to:

* Otto Palindrome [[{{Jerkass}} Rimmer]] from ''Series/{{Quark}}'', who often sends Quark on various garbage picking missions.
* This trope [[IncrediblyLamePun occurs]] enough times in ''GavinAndStacey''
''Series/RedDwarf'' happily enforces (or at least tries to enforce) rules and directives that one has to wonder whether the creators have been on the receiving end of this trope in RealLife once too often.
* In ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', the entire city of [[UsefulNotes/{{Toronto}} Hogtown]] [[spoiler:in the afterlife for evil souls]] is populated by these types. [[spoiler:The devil simply leaves them to their own devices, [[EvenEvilHasStandards preferring to avoid contact with them]].]]
not even high-ranking officers care about.



* In Nickelodeon's TV show ''Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete'', the younger Pete befriends Clothing Inspector #34, who proceeds to make the entire neighborhood rule mongers equal to himself. [[spoiler: Finally defeated when Pete challenges him to an eating contest of barbeque chicken. Inspector 34 finishes every bit of meat on his chicken without getting a bit of sauce on his hands or clothes. Only to be reminded by Dad "You're supposed to get dirty eating chicken." Causing Inspector 27 to realize the error of his ways, and not be such a perfectionist.]]

to:

* In Nickelodeon's TV show ''Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete'', Richard Woolsey from ''Series/StargateSG1'' and ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' is exactly this. Even though he strictly believes in rules, he is generally benign and fair, although annoying. When he took command of Atlantis, the younger Pete befriends Clothing Inspector #34, who proceeds initial reaction was that [[TyrantTakesTheHelm A Tyrant Has Taken The Helm]], exactly because of this trope. However, he turned out to make be a [[BaitAndSwitchTyrant capable leader]] after all.
** Even once he becomes a good guy Woolsey, uniquely, remains a bureaucrat. In fact he gets a few CMOA out of his skills as a lawyer and underhanded politician.
*** Senator Kinsey also counts. In his first appearance he tries to get
the entire neighborhood rule mongers equal Stargate Program shut down, under the guise that it's a money pit and exposes the Earth to himself. [[spoiler: Finally defeated when Pete challenges unnecessary dangers. While he's right, the fact that he's trying to take on a more advanced race with regular weapons and believes God wouldn't let them lose is what cements him as this trope. Later on, he's shown to an eating contest be working with a GovernmentConspiracy that wants to handle interplanetary relations their way, accusing the SGC of barbeque chicken. Inspector 34 finishes every bit being "too soft". This includes them slaughtering millions of meat Jaffa, not caring whether the planets they attack are home to Free Jaffa or Jaffa that serve the Goa'uld, thus tacking on his chicken "hypocrite" to the above (which he also justifies by citing the Bible).
*** Kinsey's actions, even as part of a conspiracy, are absolutely ungodly stupid. They seem to believe that they could defeat the Goa'uld by stealing certain pieces of alien technology from the Tolan, Tok'ra, and even Asgard and Ancient tech. They never seem to consider that
without getting a bit the help of sauce on these guys, especially the Asgard, Earth would have been conquered, glassed and/or shattered by at least a dozen different bad guys.
*** There's also the fact that
his hands initial objection about exposing Earth to alien threats ignores the fact that you can't put the genie back in the bottle. Earth had ''already'' been exposed to the Goa'uld, and shutting down the Stargate program wouldn't make them go away or clothes. Only ignore Earth. It would just require them to be reminded take (very slightly) longer to attack using spaceships (a point made by Dad "You're supposed Col. O'Neill in the pilot and during the episode in question). Which they do. The very next episode. Understandably, after the shit had barely missed the fan, the rest of the government told Kinsey to put a sock in it and overruled him.
** Camile Wray of ''Series/StargateUniverse'', given her status as a member of the IOA. Of course, she is also trying to take over the ship, so she's the darker variant. She gets better after things have settled down.
** The entire IOA counts as this. After watching enough of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', you would think the only decisions they make is to put the blame on whoever else they can.
** The Franchise/StargateVerse sort of has a revolving door of them. Either, like Woolsey, they see what's going on and become more [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure reasonable]] over the years, or like Kinsey, they
get dirty eating chicken." Causing Inspector 27 to realize ''worse'' and get into a much more antagonistic role than just being the error of his ways, guy whose turn it is to say "the SGC is costing too much money" this year. Either way, this means it's time to bring in the next and not be such a perfectionist.]]start the cycle again.



* ''Series/TheThinBlueLine'': To be fair, Fowler's rigid adherence to proper procedure is rooted in a heartfelt belief in things like due process, rule of law, work ethics and other [[BoringButPractical unglamourous but socially beneficial principles]]. He just has a tendency to take it a ''teensy'' bit too far at times....



* The humourless foyer administrator in the children's TV show ''Series/LiftOff'' dug up a rule banning something new every episode...including, at one point, carrying around ''a ban sign with a mirror on it''. That one [[HoistByHisOwnPetard backfired when they got him to turn it around]].
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' ''always'' had one in there to get in the way of stopping a terrorist attack. The most memorable of which being Ryan Chappelle in the first three seasons, who essentially was an insufferable pain in the ass that got in Jack's way everywhere he went, yet had arguably the most [[AlasPoorScrappy emotionally-jarring]] death of the series.
** ''Briefly'' subverted on Day 5 by [=Lynn McGill=]. When Jack (who had been in hiding for two years) uses an out-of-date distress code, [=McGill=] is the only one anal and methodical enough to recognize and research it, thereby saving the day. Of course, after that brief moment, he reverts to playing this trope completely straight, eventually crossing into TyrantTakesTheHelm territory.
* In ''Series/AshesToAshes'', Jim Keats is initially made out to be this.
* This trope is the premise of the Austrian show ''MA2412'', with the Obstructive Bureaucrats as protagonists.
* ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'':
** One episode involved a world with extremely strict bureaucratic procedures. Interacting with them gave Tyr a lovely line (which the audience likely agrees with) after listening to a message summed up as "You don't have an appointment, please hold" for the umpteenth time:
---> '''Tyr:''' ''[deadpan]'' ... Now can we blow them up?
** Followed by this exchange:
---> '''Beka Valentine:''' What if I told you we have forty missile tubes locked on your capital city, ready to fire if I don't get some straight answers?\\
'''Clerk:''' ''[calmly]'' You'd still need an appointment.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': In the season eight episode "Need To Know", the CIA Director and his attorney tries to block the Navy's attempt to declassify material relating to a secret joint Navy-CIA submarine mission in 1968 in which the sub sank near the Soviet coastlline.
* A frequent visitor on ''Series/BarneyMiller''. Often it's the higher-ups in the department, or the gleefully malicious Scanlan of Internal Affairs, but there are many officials from the state and federal government who get drawn into whatever crazy case is going on.
* ''Series/TheThinBlueLine'': To be fair, Fowler's rigid adherence to proper procedure is rooted in a heartfelt belief in things like due process, rule of law, work ethics and other [[BoringButPractical unglamourous but socially beneficial principles]]. He just has a tendency to take it a ''teensy'' bit too far at times....
* "Marks" on ''{{Series/Overhaulin}}'' tend to run into these in the quest to retrieve their stolen or erroneously impounded cars. They're usually played by the hosts or other members of the production crew.
* In ''Series/{{Blindspot}}'', Jonas Fischer is a particularly malignant version, cynically using his powers as Chief Inspector of the Office of Professional Responsibility to [[spoiler:shut down an investigation that would have revealed that he's a double agent for the FSB]].
* [[{{Jerkass}} Rimmer]] from ''Series/RedDwarf'' happily enforces (or at least tries to enforce) rules and directives that not even high-ranking officers care about.
* In the Brazilian musical special for kids ''Plunct Plact Zuum''– about a group of kids who want to explore space in a customized, weird-looking spaceship (the “Plunct Plact Zuum” from the title)– late rockstar Raul Seixas played an Obstructive Bureaucrat [[RecycledInSpace from space!]] To him, even ''[[UpToEleven the sun]]'' should have an ID card. He says that “[[TitleDrop Plunct Plact Zuum]] won’t go anywhere”, unless it’s sealed, registered, stamped, examined and labeled. Ultimetely, however, he [[PetTheDog sympathizes with the kids]], confessing that he wanted to go with them, but can’t leave his job. Then, he lets them go and [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming wishes them a good journey]].
* ''Series/TheMagicians2016'': The library in the Neitherlands runs on one. Creator/FranzKafka wrote ''Literature/TheTrial'' after a week there.
12th Feb '17 12:02:13 AM rva98014
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* In ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'', the DMV (Department of [[WorldOfFunnyAnimals Mammal]] Vehicles) is, for some reason, staffed exclusively with sloths, meaning it's even slower than the RealLife version by virtue of sloths doing everything in an extremely slow manner (e.g. it takes one two seconds to press the camera shutter button and the same amount of time for another to stamp a form). According to [[CunningLikeAFox Nick]], the fastest sloth in DMV is named "Flash", which still makes him extremely slow (to the point where it takes him several seconds to get Nick's joke and slowly stretch his face in a smile). By the time Nick and [[RighteousRabbit Judy]] come out of the office, it's night.

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* In ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'', the DMV (Department of [[WorldOfFunnyAnimals Mammal]] Vehicles) is, for some reason, staffed exclusively with sloths, meaning it's even slower than the RealLife version by virtue of sloths doing everything in an extremely slow manner (e.g. it takes one two seconds to press the camera shutter button and the same amount of time for another to stamp a form). According to [[CunningLikeAFox Nick]], the fastest sloth in DMV is named "Flash", which still makes him extremely slow (to the point where it takes him several seconds to get Nick's joke and slowly stretch his face in It's a smile). By the time Nick and [[RighteousRabbit Judy]] come out downplayed version of the office, it's night.trope in that none of the sloths are intentionally trying to be obstructive or petty, they're just slow.
7th Feb '17 12:14:33 PM PlasmaTalon
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** The Imperial Guard gets this constantly. One of their old codexes gave the example of a regiment that was wiped out making a heroic last stand, officially recognized for their HeroicSacrifice, accidentally assigned to lead an attack due to a filing error, and then ''posthumously sentenced to death for desertion'' when they failed to show up.

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** The Imperial Guard gets this constantly. One of their old codexes gave the example of a regiment that was wiped out making a heroic last stand, officially recognized for their HeroicSacrifice, accidentally assigned to lead an attack due to a filing error, and then ''posthumously sentenced to death for desertion'' when they failed to show up. In other cases specialized regiments have been mistakenly sent to the wrong warzones. With jungle fighters being sent to ice worlds, and arctic combatants being sent to battle in rain forests.


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** There is at least one order of the inquisition devoted entirely to cutting through as much as of the Administratum's red tape as possible. Whether they're having any success or making a real impact is unknown and doubtful though.
5th Feb '17 7:05:33 AM CaptainTedium
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* An example of this being used for good in ''WesternAnimation/EarthWormJim'', were one of these foils 'The thing that dares not speak its name's plan to destroy the universe by making it fill out paperwork to do so. Paperwork so long that it would take a billion years to fill out.

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* An example of this being used for good in ''WesternAnimation/EarthWormJim'', were one of these foils 'The thing that dares not speak its name's plan to destroy the universe by making it fill out paperwork to do so. Paperwork so long that it would take a billion years to fill out. And after that, it turns out it was given the wrong paperwork!
2nd Feb '17 9:41:25 AM rwe1138
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** Subverted with Duane Freeman later on. Expecting another Gyrich, the Avengers were pleasantly surprised to find while he did argue with their actions when he believed it necessary, even standing toe-to-toe with Thor at one point and not backing down, he supported them fully and remained a big proponent of superheroes. It became a running gag that Iron Man couldn't believe how reasonable Freeman was.
26th Jan '17 8:29:03 AM Morgenthaler
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* In StarCraft, Aldaris [[spoiler: sends a fleet to Char, the planet that Tassadar was stranded on. To arrest him for, in short; disobeying orders and not purifying the infected Terran planets, not returning to Auir to be punished, demoted, and maybe executed; attempting to help his race and home world by allying with the Nerazim; whom the Conclave had exiled for "heretical powers born of darkness", and not returning to Auir after his ship was destroyed and he was marooned.]] The entire Conclave likely fits this trope, although Aldaris is the only Judicator you meet. Also, [[spoiler: the Confederacy when they arrested James Raynor for "destruction of Confederate property". The destroyed property? Infested Terran bases that were making more infested Terrans.]]

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* In StarCraft, ''VideoGame/StarCraft'', Aldaris [[spoiler: sends a fleet to Char, the planet that Tassadar was stranded on. To arrest him for, in short; disobeying orders and not purifying the infected Terran planets, not returning to Auir to be punished, demoted, and maybe executed; attempting to help his race and home world by allying with the Nerazim; whom the Conclave had exiled for "heretical powers born of darkness", and not returning to Auir after his ship was destroyed and he was marooned.]] The entire Conclave likely fits this trope, although Aldaris is the only Judicator you meet. Also, [[spoiler: the Confederacy when they arrested James Raynor for "destruction of Confederate property". The destroyed property? Infested Terran bases that were making more infested Terrans.]]
7th Jan '17 10:38:12 AM Divra
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* The embassy workers in ''{{Theatre/Chess}}'', in their handling of a Russian potential defector. The lyrics of "Embassy Lament" really say it all.
--> Oh my dear how boring, he's defecting.
--> Just like all the others he's expecting
--> us to be impressed with what he's done here
--> But he hasn't stopped to think about
--> the paperwork his gesture causes.
--> We've an embassy to run here!
[...]
--> Russia must be empty.
--> Though we're all for
--> basic human rights it makes you wonder
--> what they built the Berlin wall for.
--> Who do these foreign chappies think they are?!
6th Jan '17 10:01:19 AM Morgenthaler
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* Best shown by the [[UsefulNotes/NewRomanLegions Italian military]] before and during WorldWarII (at the end of which they were finally put in their place. Those dealing with the military, at least), obstructive enought that only the threat of being shot as saboteurs could stop them for the duration of WorldWarI. Some of their best hits are:

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* Best shown by the [[UsefulNotes/NewRomanLegions Italian military]] before and during WorldWarII UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (at the end of which they were finally put in their place. Those dealing with the military, at least), obstructive enought that only the threat of being shot as saboteurs could stop them for the duration of WorldWarI.UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. Some of their best hits are:



** messing with Italy's machine guns adoption, leading to paying in advance a large number of Vickers that were never delivered due the start of WorldWarI, the adoption of the [[ReliablyUnreliableGuns infamously unreliable Fiat-Revelli mod. 1914]] over a better and less expensive design, and, between the two World Wars, the replacement of the Mod. 1914 with a number of machine guns that are almost as bad;

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** messing with Italy's machine guns adoption, leading to paying in advance a large number of Vickers that were never delivered due the start of WorldWarI, UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, the adoption of the [[ReliablyUnreliableGuns infamously unreliable Fiat-Revelli mod. 1914]] over a better and less expensive design, and, between the two World Wars, the replacement of the Mod. 1914 with a number of machine guns that are almost as bad;
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.ObstructiveBureaucrat