History Main / TheMeddlingKidsAreUseless

11th Jun '16 1:26:04 AM StFan
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[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* In ''Film/The13thWarrior'', main character Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan is a useful extra swordsman but doesn't actually do anything to resolve the plot, with the single exception of figuring out how the group can escape from the Wendol cave. Of course, since the story is really about Bulliwye/Beowulf, this is understandable.
** Ahmed also figured-out that the Wendol liked to act, and maybe even think of themselves as bears, and this allowed the group to find the Wendol cave to begin with. However, he was mostly an audience identification character and eventual chronicler of Bulliwye/Beowulf, so he still fits the trope well.
* In ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'', the role of James Bond in the plot is actually rather limited. He spends most of his time tailing Goldfinger and hanging out in his base as a prisoner, always ''trying'' to get intel outside, but failing. [[spoiler:Sure, he does manage to kill both Goldfinger and Oddjob, but that doesn't affect the plot very much, and the bulk of the work ends up being done by the US Army and the CIA. They even disarm the nuke for Bond. The only vital thing Bond does manage to do is, ironically enough, screwing Pussy Galore (who then performs a HeelFaceTurn and sabotages Goldfinger's 'grand slam')]].
* True, to an extent, for ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk.'' If Indy hadn't been there to battle the Nazis, would the ending have been much different? [[spoiler: Maybe a little. The flying wing was going to take the ark to Berlin, so if Indy hadn't interfered, it might have been opened in front of the top Nazi brass, thus killing Hitler and ending the war early.]]

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[[AC:{{Film}}]]
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/The13thWarrior'', main character Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan is a useful extra swordsman but doesn't actually do anything to resolve the plot, with the single exception of figuring out how the group can escape from the Wendol cave. Of course, since the story is really about Bulliwye/Beowulf, this is understandable.
**
understandable. Ahmed also figured-out that the Wendol liked to act, and maybe even think of themselves as bears, and this allowed the group to find the Wendol cave to begin with. However, he was is mostly an audience identification character and eventual chronicler of Bulliwye/Beowulf, so he still fits the trope well.
* In ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'', the role of James Bond in the plot is actually rather limited. He spends most of his time tailing Goldfinger and hanging out in his base as a prisoner, always ''trying'' to get intel outside, but failing. [[spoiler:Sure, he does manage to kill both Goldfinger and Oddjob, but that doesn't affect the plot very much, and the bulk of the work ends up being done by the US Army and the CIA. They even disarm the nuke for Bond. The only vital thing Bond does manage to do is, ironically enough, screwing Pussy Galore (who then performs a HeelFaceTurn and sabotages Goldfinger's 'grand slam')]].
"grand slam")]].
* True, to an extent, for ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk.'' ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk''. If Indy hadn't been there to battle the Nazis, would the ending have been much different? [[spoiler: Maybe [[spoiler:Maybe a little. The flying wing was going to take the ark to Berlin, so if Indy hadn't interfered, it might have been opened in front of the top Nazi brass, thus killing Hitler and ending the war early.]]




[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* [[Discworld/GuardsGuards Guards! Guards!]] has the Watch figure out who the Supreme Grand Master is, but it is implied that [[TheChessmaster Vetinari]] was already aware of what was going on, and the Watch are ultimately useless in getting rid of the Dragon - [[spoiler: Errol ends up defeating it by creating a sonic boom, which was part of his mating dance to the female dragon]]. Their investigation for the first half of the story is already invalidated: firstly, by the audience knowing about the Brotherhood's antics; and second, by the Brotherhood getting killed shortly before the Watch learn that they were behind it.
** Of course, [[spoiler: Errol]] was in a position to do so because [[spoiler: the Watch had adopted him and let him eat assorted random stuff for a good chunk of the book.]] In other words, the Meddling Kids weren't ''useless''... it just turned out the useful thing they did was [[SubvertedTrope something else than the snooping and the getting into exciting situations]].

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\n[[AC:{{Literature}}]]\n[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* [[Discworld/GuardsGuards Guards! Guards!]] Literature/{{Discworld}}'': ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'' has the Watch figure out who the Supreme Grand Master is, but it is implied that [[TheChessmaster Vetinari]] was already aware of what was going on, and the Watch are ultimately useless in getting rid of the Dragon - [[spoiler: Errol ends up defeating it by creating a sonic boom, which was part of his mating dance to the female dragon]]. Their investigation for the first half of the story is already invalidated: firstly, by the audience knowing about the Brotherhood's antics; and second, by the Brotherhood getting killed shortly before the Watch learn that they were behind it.
**
it. Of course, [[spoiler: Errol]] [[spoiler:Errol]] was in a position to do so because [[spoiler: the Watch had adopted him and let him eat assorted random stuff for a good chunk of the book.]] In other words, the Meddling Kids weren't ''useless''... it just turned out the useful thing they did was [[SubvertedTrope something else than the snooping and the getting into exciting situations]].



* Despite having the most screen-time in ''Literature/GoodOmens'', NobleDemon Crowley and the pragmatic angel Aziraphale have no effect on the main events of the story, though not for a lack of trying. Arguably though, having [[spoiler: Armageddon be averted by humans only, without angelic or diabolical help]] was the whole point.
** Really, most of the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters rather large cast]] is like this--the final battle pretty much comes down to the Them vs. the [[HorsemenOfTheApocalypse Horsepeople]]. [[OccultDetective Shadwell]], [[NotSoPhonyPsychic Madame Tracy]], [[PsychicPowers Anathema]], [[UnluckyEverydude Newton]], and [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils Ligur]] all turn out to be pretty pointless, not even counting other characters who had died/disappeared from the plot by this point. (Admittedly Newt's presence might have contributed, it's kind of unclear if the Horsepeople's defeat stopped the nukes or just made it possible for him to.)

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* Despite having the most screen-time in ''Literature/GoodOmens'', NobleDemon Crowley and the pragmatic angel Aziraphale have no effect on the main events of the story, though not for a lack of trying. Arguably though, having [[spoiler: Armageddon be averted by humans only, without angelic or diabolical help]] was the whole point.
**
point. Really, most of the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters rather large cast]] is like this--the final battle pretty much comes down to the Them vs. the [[HorsemenOfTheApocalypse Horsepeople]]. [[OccultDetective Shadwell]], [[NotSoPhonyPsychic Madame Tracy]], [[PsychicPowers Anathema]], [[UnluckyEverydude Newton]], and [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils Ligur]] all turn out to be pretty pointless, not even counting other characters who had died/disappeared from the plot by this point. (Admittedly Newt's presence might have contributed, it's kind of unclear if the Horsepeople's defeat stopped the nukes or just made it possible for him to.) )




[[AC:LiveActionTV]]

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\n[[AC:LiveActionTV]]\n[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]




[[AC:WesternAnimation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', who were based on the ''HardyBoys'' and ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' both, really did nothing in the show during the first season, but are the main characters nonetheless. This changed in later seasons.
* In the original 1960s series, ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' basically just hung around while his dad and Race dealt with all the dangerous stuff. Ocassionally, he, Hadji and Bandit would need rescuing, and would even take down a {{mook}} or two, but otherwise did little but comment on the action.
** This was realized when ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'' was made, resulting in the younger cast members being much more capable of fighting and getting out of trouble, not to mention being aged up a bit.
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'''s Scooby Gang, the [[TropeNamer meddling kids]] themselves, are an odd case, as they actually ''do'' manage to solve mysteries... or rather, Velma does, with a little help from Freddy and occasionally Daphne. Our main heroes, Scooby and Shaggy, on the other hand, mostly just have exciting {{chase scene}}s and [[BigEater eat lots]], while Daphne is kidnapped by the villain ("[[DamselInDistress Danger-prone Daphne]]", indeed) and Freddy makes traps that invariably fail but somehow manage to [[AccidentalHero accidentally capture the villain anyway]]. In the end, it's Velma who figures out who the villain is and explains the mystery to the others.
** To be fair to Scooby and Shaggy, their chase scenes sometimes involved them being chased by the villain right into Fred's trap, inadvertently capturing the bad guy. Shaggy himself is the TropeNamer for the ShaggySearchTechnique, and is often the one who finds the clues to the cases.
** This is averted hilariously in the movies, in which the cast also realize their shortcomings - Daphne takes down a good number of bad guys after [[IKnowKarate taking martial arts classes]] and Shaggy and Scooby spend the entire second movie performing investigations on their own to prove their worth (of course, the success of said investigations is pretty limited...)

to:

\n[[AC:WesternAnimation]]\n[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', who were based on the ''HardyBoys'' ''Literature/TheHardyBoys'' and ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' both, really did do nothing in the show during the first season, but are the main characters nonetheless. This changed changes in later seasons.
* In the original 1960s series, ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' basically just hung around while his dad and Race dealt with all the dangerous stuff. Ocassionally, Occasionally, he, Hadji and Bandit would need rescuing, and would even take down a {{mook}} or two, but otherwise did little but comment on the action.
**
action. This was realized when ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'' was made, resulting in the younger cast members being much more capable of fighting and getting out of trouble, not to mention being aged up a bit.
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'''s Scooby Gang, the [[TropeNamer meddling kids]] themselves, are an odd case, as they actually ''do'' manage to solve mysteries... or rather, Velma does, with a little help from Freddy and occasionally Daphne. Our main heroes, Scooby and Shaggy, on the other hand, mostly just have exciting {{chase scene}}s and [[BigEater eat lots]], while Daphne is kidnapped by the villain ("[[DamselInDistress Danger-prone Daphne]]", indeed) and Freddy makes traps that invariably fail but somehow manage to [[AccidentalHero accidentally capture the villain anyway]]. In the end, it's Velma who figures out who the villain is and explains the mystery to the others.
**
others. To be fair to Scooby and Shaggy, their chase scenes sometimes involved involve them being chased by the villain right into Fred's trap, inadvertently capturing the bad guy. Shaggy himself is the TropeNamer for the ShaggySearchTechnique, and is often the one who finds the clues to the cases.
** This is averted hilariously in the movies, in which the cast also realize their shortcomings - -- Daphne takes down a good number of bad guys after [[IKnowKarate taking martial arts classes]] and Shaggy and Scooby spend the entire second movie performing investigations on their own to prove their worth (of course, the success of said investigations is pretty limited...)



** In "A Clue for Scooby Doo", "Bedlam At The Big Top", and "Never Ape an Ape Man", Scooby and Shaggy do have a major role in solving the case.

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** In "A Clue for Scooby Doo", "Bedlam At The at the Big Top", and "Never Ape an Ape Man", Scooby and Shaggy do have a major role in solving the case.



** Not to mention in many later spin offs where Velma and Fred were absent, leaving Shaggy and Scooby to use WesternAnimation/BugsBunny style antics to take down the MonsterOfTheWeek (who were often ''real'' this time).
*** Shaggy is quite often shown to be considerably smarter than he looks. He and Scooby are perfectly capable of solving a mystery on their own, if they have no choice but to focus on it. He was also the first one to recognize the unmasked Capt. Cutler.

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** Not to mention in many later spin offs spin-offs where Velma and Fred were are absent, leaving Shaggy and Scooby to use WesternAnimation/BugsBunny style antics to take down the MonsterOfTheWeek (who were are often ''real'' this time).
***
time). Shaggy is quite often shown to be considerably smarter than he looks. He and Scooby are perfectly capable of solving a mystery on their own, if they have no choice but to focus on it. He was is also the first one to recognize the unmasked Capt. Cutler.


Added DiffLines:

[[/folder]]
19th Apr '16 11:30:41 PM erforce
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* In ''{{The 13th Warrior}}'', main character Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan is a useful extra swordsman but doesn't actually do anything to resolve the plot, with the single exception of figuring out how the group can escape from the Wendol cave. Of course, since the story is really about Bulliwye/Beowulf, this is understandable.

to:

* In ''{{The 13th Warrior}}'', ''Film/The13thWarrior'', main character Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan is a useful extra swordsman but doesn't actually do anything to resolve the plot, with the single exception of figuring out how the group can escape from the Wendol cave. Of course, since the story is really about Bulliwye/Beowulf, this is understandable.



* True, to an extent, for ''RaidersOfTheLostArk.'' If Indy hadn't been there to battle the Nazis, would the ending have been much different? [[spoiler: Maybe a little. The flying wing was going to take the ark to Berlin, so if Indy hadn't interfered, it might have been opened in front of the top Nazi brass, thus killing Hitler and ending the war early.]]
* In "The Desperate Hours" (1955) a family is taken hostage. They have two or three perfect escapes foiled by the same kid. In one they get outside, find the kid missing and see he's still in the house at gunpoint. IIRC (it's been a long time) this kid also mouthed off to the bandits with something like "Oh, yeah? Well, when my father gets to his gun which is in the drawer right there ..."

to:

* True, to an extent, for ''RaidersOfTheLostArk.''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk.'' If Indy hadn't been there to battle the Nazis, would the ending have been much different? [[spoiler: Maybe a little. The flying wing was going to take the ark to Berlin, so if Indy hadn't interfered, it might have been opened in front of the top Nazi brass, thus killing Hitler and ending the war early.]]
* In "The ''The Desperate Hours" Hours'' (1955) a family is taken hostage. They have two or three perfect escapes foiled by the same kid. In one they get outside, find the kid missing and see he's still in the house at gunpoint. IIRC (it's been a long time) this kid also mouthed off to the bandits with something like "Oh, yeah? Well, when my father gets to his gun which is in the drawer right there ..."
9th Jan '16 9:41:54 AM MarcInGA
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to:

* In "The Desperate Hours" (1955) a family is taken hostage. They have two or three perfect escapes foiled by the same kid. In one they get outside, find the kid missing and see he's still in the house at gunpoint. IIRC (it's been a long time) this kid also mouthed off to the bandits with something like "Oh, yeah? Well, when my father gets to his gun which is in the drawer right there ..."
23rd Aug '15 8:25:09 PM nombretomado
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* Ishmael, in ''MobyDick''. The only thing that really distinguishes him as a character is that he's the only member of the ''Pequod'''s crew not to die.

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* Ishmael, in ''MobyDick''.''Literature/MobyDick''. The only thing that really distinguishes him as a character is that he's the only member of the ''Pequod'''s crew not to die.
1st May '15 6:25:26 PM nombretomado
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** Not to mention in many later spin offs where Velma and Fred were absent, leaving Shaggy and Scooby to use BugsBunny style antics to take down the MonsterOfTheWeek (who were often ''real'' this time).

to:

** Not to mention in many later spin offs where Velma and Fred were absent, leaving Shaggy and Scooby to use BugsBunny WesternAnimation/BugsBunny style antics to take down the MonsterOfTheWeek (who were often ''real'' this time).
9th Apr '15 1:19:04 PM AquamarineGavial
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* [[Discworld/GuardsGuards Guards! Guards!]] has the Watch figure out who the Supreme Grand Master is, but it is implied that [[TheChessmaster Vetinari]] was already aware of what was going on, and the Watch are ultimately useless in getting rid of the Dragon - [[spoiler: Errol ends up defeating it by creating a sonic boom, which was part of his mating dance to the female dragon]].

to:

* [[Discworld/GuardsGuards Guards! Guards!]] has the Watch figure out who the Supreme Grand Master is, but it is implied that [[TheChessmaster Vetinari]] was already aware of what was going on, and the Watch are ultimately useless in getting rid of the Dragon - [[spoiler: Errol ends up defeating it by creating a sonic boom, which was part of his mating dance to the female dragon]]. Their investigation for the first half of the story is already invalidated: firstly, by the audience knowing about the Brotherhood's antics; and second, by the Brotherhood getting killed shortly before the Watch learn that they were behind it.
11th Dec '14 7:33:04 AM woodwardiocom
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to:

* True, to an extent, for ''RaidersOfTheLostArk.'' If Indy hadn't been there to battle the Nazis, would the ending have been much different? [[spoiler: Maybe a little. The flying wing was going to take the ark to Berlin, so if Indy hadn't interfered, it might have been opened in front of the top Nazi brass, thus killing Hitler and ending the war early.]]
10th Sep '14 5:11:55 AM DAN004
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Suddenly it dawns on you. The main characters aren't that useful! They did all the cool stuff (basically, get into all the danger), yet someone else ultimately stopped the bad guy and saved the day. [[WhatTheHellHero What the heck?]] Why even bother with these "heroes" and their adventures?

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Suddenly it dawns on you. The main characters aren't that useful! They did all the cool stuff (basically, get into all the danger), yet [[NonProtagonistResolver someone else ultimately stopped the bad guy and saved the day. [[WhatTheHellHero day.]] What the heck?]] heck? Why even bother with these "heroes" and their adventures?
16th Jul '14 9:37:17 PM randomsurfer
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** In "The Time of the Doctor" the Doctor explains his default plan: talk a lot, hope something good happens, take the credit.
18th May '14 9:16:13 PM Ramidel
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[[AC:{{Anime}} & {{Manga}}]]
* In ''Manga/DetectiveConan'', the three supporting cast of children, [[BrattyHalfPint The Detective Boys]], excluding [[OlderThanTheyLook Conan and Haibara]] are rather annoying and irritating know-it-alls who represent this trope perfectly. They always need to get saved by someone.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.TheMeddlingKidsAreUseless