Created By: BonsaiForest on August 28, 2013 Last Edited By: BonsaiForest on January 9, 2014
Troped

Home Alone Antics

A kid sets traps in a house/hotel/castle/whatever for bad guys to trip on. Hilarity Ensues.

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Named after, and probably started by, Home Alone, Home Alone Antics are an unusually specific trope. At its most well-known form, a kid sets traps in or around a house, and bad guys who are after the kid (or the house or something in it) end up getting hurt by the traps.

There can be variations on the concept. It doesn't have to be a kid who sets the traps or tricks the bad guys - in fact, in one movie, it was a dog. The traps don't always need to be "set"; they can be part of the architecture/environment. However, the one required aspect is dumb/goofy villains being tricked into falling for the traps in comedic manner.

(I'll improve the description later; I'm in a hurry)

(If I have to rename the trope, the new name should somehow involve stupid bad guys falling for traps set by, or set off by, a kid or something similar. Any alternate name suggestions? I do want to avoid Trope Namer Syndrome if it'll be a problem, though I always thought Home Alone was quite infamous for having invented this style)

(picture to go with the article will likely be of one of the burglars in Home Alone tripping/falling on a trap, to illustrate the trope at a glance)

Examples include:

  • Home Alone is the Trope Namer, Trope Codifier and Ur-Example. While the majority of the film is actually about a boy's attempts to live on his own after accidentally being left behind by his parents, and how he manages buying food, tricking people into thinking there are others in the house, and so on, the movie was overwhelmingly remembered for its ending, which consists of the boy setting traps for robbers that are planning to rob his house, and them getting caught in them. The traps only get more violent and extreme in the second movie.
  • The Richie Rich live action movie turned into this near the end, as the house's traps were used against the bad guys. This time it was a group of kids using them.
  • 3 Ninjas included a scene early on where kidnappers were tripped by traps set by the brothers.
  • Blank Check is mostly about a kid who lives it up with money he obtained dishonestly, but near the end, he suddenly knows how to use the layout of his castle to stop the bad guys who are out to get him.
  • Ping is about a dog that manages to trip up two dumbass robbers who are attempting to rob the house.
  • Alone in the Woods involves a boy tricking and tripping up two bad guys as he tries to rescue a kidnap victim.
  • Mr. Bogus:
    • In the first act of the episode "Shop Around The Clock", Bogus sets up a series of tactics and scenarios in order to stop Jake and Butch from stealing a priceless crown from the department store. These include controlling a pair of fishing pants, dressing himself up as a conductor to use music instruments to attack Butch, and controlling a fisherman dummy to chase away the two baddies.
    • Used again in the first act of the episode "Bogunda, Bogetta & Bogus", this time in the Anybody residence when Jake and Butch return. This time, Bogus is able to keep them deterred by firing light bulbs from a lamp, using a toy mouse to grab them on the nose, and using his shadow projected on the wall to scare them out of the house.
  • Comedy series Cousin Skeeter had an episode where the main characters worked in a toy store that was later robbed by a couple criminals. They use the toys to fight them off.
  • The episode Home Alone Sweep from Sooty and Co has Sweep left home alone. He hears sounds outside and starts setting traps for the burglars. However, it turns out that the 'burglar' was actually Matthew, who ends up falling into all of his traps.
  • One Calvin and Hobbes strip has Calvin's parents come home to find a house full of booby traps, because Calvin watched a scary movie while they were out and then rigged up defenses against a monster attack.
  • In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show while Rob is away Laura watches a scary movie on TV and is afraid that someone will break into the house. Milly comes over and they set booby-traps at the front door etc. so that whoever might break in will make a loud noise so they can bean him with a baseball bat. Naturally, Rob comes home earlier than expected and trips the homemade alarm.
  • One Archie Comics story has Archie and Jughead house-sitting for Mr. Lodge. Although the mansion has a sophisticated security system, the boys decide to play it safe and add some extra anti-burglar defenses, involving the usual buckets of water, tin cans, flypaper, etc. Of course, Mr. Lodge comes home and walks into all the booby traps.
  • Too Much: The Robot With a Heart has Susie and a Japanese boy escape bungling kidnappers/robotnappers by setting traps that they comically fall for, resulting in them making a huge mess of a fish market.

Any more examples, or improvements to the description?
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • August 28, 2013
    randomsurfer
    It's got Trope Namer Syndrome written all over it, but in this case this trope might be what Home Alone is actually best known for, besides the titular "kid left home alone" part.

    The Richie Rich example might be an Actor Allusion too, since Mc Cauley Culkin starred as Richie as well as the first two Home Alones.

    A regular occurance on Scooby Doo after a Lets Split Up Gang when Scooby & Shaggy are on the run from the monster of the week, then set up some kind of elaborate scenario in order to confuse the monster.
  • August 28, 2013
    CaveCat
    • Mr Bogus:
      • In the first act of the episode "Shop Around The Clock", Bogus sets up a series of tactics and scenarios in order to stop Jake and Butch from stealing a priceless crown from the department store. These include controlling a pair of fishing pants, dressing himself up as a conductor to use music instruments to attack Butch, and controlling a fisherman dummy to chase away the two baddies.
      • Used again in the first act of the episode "Bogunda, Bogetta & Bogus", this time in the Anybody residence when Jake and Butch return. This time, Bogus is able to keep them deterred by firing light bulbs from a lamp, using a toy mouse to grab them on the nose, and using his shadow projected on the wall to scare them out of the house.
  • August 28, 2013
    robbulldog
    A Darkerand Edgier (and perhaps, darker than the trope writer would consider) version of this trope is in play at the old family estate in Sky Fall.
  • August 28, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    In the Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog episode, "Tails in Charge", Tails sets traps for Scratch and Grounder to get back at them for turning Sonic to stone.
  • August 28, 2013
    xanderiskander
    We already have Slapstick and I don't think this is distinct enough from that to justify it's own page.
  • August 28, 2013
    BonsaiForest
    This is about a very specific thing done a specific way, that's very common. Slapstick has been around forever. Home Alone Antics are a relatively recent invention, the whole "rig traps in a house/whatever to injure stupid bad guys" aspect. This is its own unique trope.
  • August 29, 2013
    DAN004
  • August 29, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^No, that is not related to this trope.
  • August 30, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ It actually is related to this trope, as the kid is probably setting up the traps in his own home or some place he's more familiar with than his opponents.

    The fourth paragraph of Home Field Advantage says "Of course, this isn't just about sports. If the bad guys attack the hero in his home, he's bound to have a few tricks up his sleeve. Even if he doesn't have anything prepared, who knows his home better than he does?"
  • August 30, 2013
    Quantumawsome
    This is the Lighter and Softer version of Die Hard on an X.
  • August 30, 2013
    xanderiskander
    @Bonsai Forest: So you're arguing Slapstick but more specific? Slapstick has been done with props since it's inception. So using traps and causing pratfalls and amusing injuries is not recent or unique, there are plenty of older examples than Home Alone. And doing it in your own home is not a distinction. Even The Three Stooges did their Slapstick indoors on occasion so the setting really doesn't matter.

    Slapstick could do with a lot of good WikiLove anyway. It has a depressing few examples for such a widely used trope in media.
  • August 30, 2013
    SneakySquirrel
    • The episode Home Alone Sweep from Sooty and Co has Sweep left home alone. He hears sounds outside and starts setting traps for the burglars. However, it turns out that the 'burglar' was actually Matthew, who ends up falling into all of his traps.
  • October 25, 2013
    BonsaiForest
    I'd like to bring this back. Home Alone has inspired so many ripoffs and imitators that I really do see this as a trope or practically a genre in itself.
  • October 25, 2013
    robinjohnson
    The finale of the James Bond film Skyfall is basically a grown-up version of this trope. EDIT: as has been already pointed out.
  • October 25, 2013
    MonaNaito
    Newspaper Comics
    • One Calvin And Hobbes strip has Calvin's parents come home to find a house full of booby traps, because Calvin watched a scary movie while they were out and then rigged up defenses against a monster attack.
  • October 26, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show while Rob is away Laura watches a scary movie on TV and is afraid that someone will break into the house. Milly comes over and they set booby-traps at the front door etc. so that whoever might break in will make a loud noise so they can bean him with a baseball bat. Naturally, Rob comes home earlier than expected and trips the homemade alarm.
  • October 26, 2013
    MonaNaito
    Comic Books
    • One Archie Comics story has Archie and Jughead house-sitting for Mr. Lodge. Although the mansion has a sophisticated security system, the boys decide to play it safe and add some extra anti-burglar defenses, involving the usual buckets of water, tin cans, flypaper, etc. Of course, Mr. Lodge comes home and walks into all the booby traps.
  • October 27, 2013
    Sackett
    Slapstick is a pretty broad supertrope.

    I mean, pratfalls are easily defined subtrope of slapstick. This seems like a rather identifiable subtrope as well.

    Is this related to Rube Goldberg Machine?
  • October 28, 2013
    henke37
    Wasn't there that FMV game where you had to spring traps or something?
  • October 28, 2013
    NESBoy
  • October 28, 2013
    BonsaiForest
    How comedic is Night Trap with its traps? I think that's a borderline example.
  • October 28, 2013
    BonsaiForest
    This isn't related to Rube Goldberg Machine. See if you can find some footage of Home Alone itself to see what I mean.
  • November 1, 2013
    SenseiLeRoof
    Am I wrong in thinking this is a variant of the Humiliation Conga?
  • November 1, 2013
    Sackett
    ^^ ???

    I've seen all the Home Alone movies, that's why I wondered if it might be related to Rube Goldberg Machine. Many of his traps are in fact Rube Goldberg Machines.
  • November 1, 2013
    BonsaiForest
    They're not really Rube Goldberg Machines. A Rube Goldberg Machine is a very complicated way to do a simple task in an "A causes B which causes C which causes D which causes E" kind of way. His traps are nothing like that. Some traps lead to other traps, but that's it.
  • November 18, 2013
    BonsaiForest
    Let's revive this. I think this is something we could really use, if it were tweaked.
  • November 18, 2013
    ArkadyDarell
    • In Transformers Shattered Glass, the Decepticons' mostly-young (and non-action) human allies do this when the insane Autobot Beachcomber attacks the base while the Decepticons are incapacitated.
      Beachcomber had survived the decon bath, the optic calibration process, the hallway filled with zero-friction lubricant and three chemical explosions since breaching the outer defenses of the Decepticon base. He had been thrown about, smashed and lit on fire by four puddles of organic waste. He was not happy.
  • November 18, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Attempted to be invoked on an episode of The Simpsons (I forget which-I think it's the one where Homer is accused of sexual harassment by the babysitter) by Homer leaving the kids alone to go someplace with Marge. A horrified Marge of course opposes the idea, thus triggering the episode's plot.
  • November 18, 2013
    BonsaiForest
    The Transformers example sounds non-goofy, and therefore not an example. I'm referring to something like the comedic antics in the movie Home Alone, which have since been copied by many other movies since.

    As for the Simpsons example, what was the episode's plot? Did it contain examples of Home Alone-style antics?
  • November 18, 2013
    ArkadyDarell
    ^^ Yes, I am well aware of what you're going for; that's why I suggested it. Within context of the story, it's funny.
  • November 18, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    ^^Simpsons example didn't had an example of Home Alone-style antics in the episode proper, making it more of a Discussed Trope... and Reality Ensues sort of in that Marge doesn't likes it.

    A more straight example (with the kids taking care of a hostile grown-up-no Rube Goldberg-style traps involved, though) would be on an earlier chapter where they deal with an Americas Most Wanted-caliber Evil Babysitter that tied up its victims and stole all of their stuff.
  • January 9, 2014
    BonsaiForest
    I just saw another movie that contained an example of this trope. Two bumbling kidnappers/robotnappers chase after a girl, boy, and the girl's robot, and get caught in simple traps (bucket left where they're guaranteed to walk in it, slippery fish left out) that cause them to make a big mess of a fish market.

    The movie was dated 1987. "Home Alone Antics" have definitely been around before Home Alone, but I still say the trope name perfectly fits exactly what it is.
  • January 9, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    ^^The Simpsons example do has at least one straight use of the trope (AFAIK-it's the climax of the episode with the evil babysitter tries to steal the house while Homer and Marge are on their anniversary (?) party). But Home Alone is referenced by name on the one I mentioned before, which happens later.

    Maybe it could be written as once played straight, once discussed (and averted in a slight moment of Reality Ensues)?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=72g1yhujh00n0rt4aa0cp29i&trope=HomeAloneAntics