Joe Smith is a goodhearted farm boy serving his country during The Civil War/World War I/World War II/Korea. Then he foolishly plays with the mystic Nazi time portal or there's a temporal equivalent of the Teleporter Accident
, and ZAP!, he falls, screaming, into the Present Day
(whenever that happens to be).
Inevitably, within minutes of arriving in the bright, blinky, flishy-flashing future, he will be culture-shocked from his head to his toes. To drive home how much of a Fish out of Temporal Water
he is, the filmmakers will slap him in the face repeatedly with the seamiest parts of contemporary culture, whether or not it's even remotely realistic in context.
It doesn't matter if it's 10:00 in the morning or 10:00 at night. It doesn't matter if he's in a coffee shop in a small Nevada town, on a busy sidewalk in San Francisco at the height of rush hour or at a church social in North Dakota, somehow, somewhere there will be a TV playing porn. Usually hardcore, but maybe softcore at the church social.
Alternately or additionally, he may also stumble across:
- A working strip-bar, complete with pole dancers;
- A pimp beating one of his hookers while a crowd looks on indifferently;
- Someone playing a hyper-violent video game;
- Someone texting (or looking at porn) on his smartphone who collides with him;
- An interracial and/or same-sex couple dramatically making out in public. One or both members of the couple will naturally get pissed at our hero for staring at them (shocking to him
, but not to us
, of course);
- A traffic accident between two screaming, foul-mouthed, ethnic cliché taxi drivers;
A more specific sub-trope of Fish out of Temporal Water
- The Philadelphia Experiment
- The Philadelphia Experiment 2
- Time After Time