Created By: BrokenEye on February 9, 2013 Last Edited By: BrokenEye on February 16, 2014

Chekhov's Dud

The gun in the first act goes off in the third, and turns out to be completely useless

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The gun in the first act goes off in the third, and turns out to be completely useless. This is usually, but not necessarily, Played for Laughs

This is usually done with actual weapons.

Examples:
  • In Iron Man 2, Rhody is given a missile by Justin Hammer which is described as being incredibly advanced and powerful. Then, during the battle with Vanko, after a long, dramatic charge-up sequence, the much-vaunted missile pings harmlessly off Vanko's armor and sputters on the ground like a dud firecracker.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Quagmire is given a banana by Adam West who tells him "When the time comes, you will know". Later, when Quagmire is being chased by Cleavland, he hurls the banana at him. Both briefly stop and stare at it as if expecting something to happen before resuming the chase.
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop: An extensive sequence involves the character and some spicy hot sauce. In the climax, he spots the hot sauce again and flings it into his opponents eye. After a few seconds, the opponent recovers. Paul says, "Huh. I should have capitalized on that," and the fight resumes.
  • In the Infocom text adventure of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there is a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal killing gun you can find at some point. If you fire it at the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast, it emits a sad green ray that bounces harmlessly off the Beast's hide, and the game gives you a footnote: "It's not a very good gun, is it?"
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • February 9, 2013
    StarSword
    Compare Red Herring, which is when what looks like a Chekhovs Gun actually isn't.
  • February 9, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    If it's done with actual weapons, then it might just be The Worf Barrage.
  • February 9, 2013
    Stratadrake
    No new Chekhov snowclones, please. BTW, Starsword, I think this is redundant with Red Herring - which may either be an aversion or subversion of a Chekhovs Gun, depending on how it manifests.
  • February 9, 2013
    AmyGdala
    I think this justifies a Chekhovs snowclone. This isn't Chekhovs X But More Specific. It's a subversion of Chekhovs Gun. And it's a subversion that's distinct from Red Herring. A Red Herring appears to have later significance but turns out to have none. This trope is for when the item does indeed come back later on - but turns out to fail in effectiveness.

    • Paul Blart Mall Cop: An extensive sequence involves the character and some spicy hot sauce. In the climax, he spots the hot sauce again and flings it into his opponents eye. After a few seconds, the opponent recovers. Paul says, "Huh. I should have capitalized on that," and the fight resumes.
  • February 10, 2013
    Stratadrake
    A Red Herring can reoccur later and then turn out to have no meaning at all - the point is that you thought it was important early on, but it actually wasn't. It doesn't matter whether the deception was in-universe or solely to the audience.
  • February 10, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    I do not think that Red Herring is different from this.

    Also, something is badly wrong in "no new Chekhov snowclones" - they are subtropes.
  • February 10, 2013
    robinjohnson
    • In the Infocom text adventure of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there is a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal killing gun you can find at some point. If you fire it at the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast, it emits a sad green ray that bounces harmlessly off the Beast's hide, and the game gives you a footnote: "It's not a very good gun, is it?"
  • February 10, 2013
    NESBoy
    Subverted in My Little Pony: Rescue from Midnight Castle. Token Human Megan receives a locket holding the Rainbow of Light from the Moochic to use against Tirac. At the climax, Megan finally unleashes the Rainbow of Light against Tirac... and it turns out to be a pathetically tiny rainbow that quickly gets consumed by Tirac's much bigger Rainbow of Darkness. The subversion comes afterward when the Rainbow of Darkness slowly transforms into a Rainbow of Light and proceeds to destroy Tirac.
  • February 10, 2013
    Stratadrake
    @Septimus: In case I wasn't clear on the subject, when I say "no new Chekhov snowclones" I mean that (mostly) in the titles department.

  • February 10, 2013
    Desertopa
    I don't see that this is the same thing as a Red Herring. A red herring is a misleading clue intended as a distraction from the truth. If it's been reframed as "any sort of Chekhovs Gun that doesn't succeed in fulfilling its obvious function," that's a case of Trope Decay.
  • February 12, 2013
    Frank75
    It's a subversion of Chekhovs Gun, nothing more.
  • February 12, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    ^^^That is still wrong. Everythings Worse With Snowclones has a clear statement about why Chekhov is a problem. This isn't.
  • February 14, 2013
    Tuomas
    Seems like this is a subtrope of Brick Joke.
  • February 16, 2014
    DAN004
    This is less of a Chekhov trope and more of a Fake Special Attack or Joke Weapon

    Cuz of this line in the description: This is usually done with actual weapons.
  • February 16, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Desertopa

    I'm inclined to agree with this.
  • February 16, 2014
    BaffleBlend
    Anime and Manga
    • In the King Piccolo arc of Dragon Ball, Master Roshi, when telling about how dangerous Piccolo was, described the Dangerous Forbidden Technique, the Evil Containment Wave, used to defeat him the first time. While it was a Foregone Conclusion that he would try to use it himself, it wasn't expected for Piccolo's Good Counterpart Kami to attempt it in the Piccolo Jr. arc. Piccolo, however, had figured out how to deflect it back at the caster by the time that happened, and Kami was the one who ended up sealed away.
  • February 16, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ That'd be Worf Barrage
  • February 16, 2014
    BaffleBlend
    ^It still applies here because it was a previous element that unexpectedly showed up later. There are a lot of just plain Worf Barrages in Dragon Ball.

    In fact, I'd say this entire ykttw could be a subtrope of Worf Barrage.
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