Created By: mtlwriterguyNovember 20, 2011 Last Edited By: mtlwriterguyNovember 22, 2011
Troped

The Future Is Shocking

A time traveller from the past will instantly see porn and "decadence" upon arriving in the present

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
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.

EXAMPLES:

- The Philadelphia Experiment - The Philadelphia Experiment 2 - Time After Time - The4400 - Transmetropolitan?

Community Feedback Replies: 28
  • November 20, 2011
    Ekuran
    How about using Future Shock for a title, since this is about the oddities of the "future"/present to a time traveler.
  • November 20, 2011
    Earnest
    I'd probably go with a slightly different title, as this one can be interpreted as "Porn for Time Travellers". Maybe Bad Temporal First Impression?
  • November 20, 2011
    FinalStarman
    Future Shock would make a good title, it's less specific and this trope seems to be broader than just smut.
  • November 20, 2011
    mtlwriterguy
    Not bad, but my point was that it's usually overdone by the movie makers to make our present seem more sick and depraved than it really is. How about Time Travel Future Shock? Or Future Shock Overkill? Something like that?
  • November 20, 2011
    Firebert
    Future Shock and a definition rewrite to focus less on porn would be good.
  • November 20, 2011
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    The example with the interracial couple could also be a same-sex couple. Alternatively, it could be an interracial same-sex couple!
  • November 20, 2011
    mtlwriterguy
    Or what about Present Shock? Too silly?
  • November 20, 2011
    Micah
    Either Time Travel Future Shock or Present Shock; the pre-existing meaning of Future Shock covers way more than this trope does.
  • November 20, 2011
    GuesssWho
    Actually, Future Shock in general is a trope we probably need--like the poor Revivals in Transmetropolitan.
  • November 20, 2011
    nitrokitty
    I'd rename this Future Shock, and generalize it to time travelers in general, so it covers both The Philadelphia Experiment and Transmetropolitan examples. Tropes Are Flexible.
  • November 21, 2011
    Chabal2
    I've seen a comic in which the Disney corporation, desperate for ideas, decides to dig out 'ol Walt from the freezer, thaw him out, and allow his visionary genius to save them all. Imbibed with contemporary culture, he comes up with an unbelievably depraved sex-themed amusement park, with naked employees, penis-shaped roller-coaster cars, etc.

  • November 20, 2011
    mtlwriterguy
  • November 20, 2011
    mtlwriterguy
    Aha! I think we have it now! How do you like The Future is Shocking?
  • November 20, 2011
    Generality
    This happened in Blast From The Past, with the use of a nuclear bomb shelter. The character was so shocked by the difference that he assumed humanity had been heavily mutated by radiation.
  • November 20, 2011
    KingZeal
    The difference between this and Bad Present?
  • November 20, 2011
    mtlwriterguy
    I hadn't seen Bad Present before, and it's definitely similar. But this is more about the time traveler's initial introduction to the present, and the specific form of overkill the filmmakers have used to drive the message home. Bad Present is more about a... well... a real Bad Present from the character's perspective.
  • November 20, 2011
    nitrokitty
    Hmm... on a second look, I'm not sure this is tropable. Fish Out Of Temporal Water already mentions the problems with Values Dissonance that may come up when time travelers from the past come to the present. The whole "immediately encounters porn" part is mostly likely because it's just written that way. Having the traveler aimlessly drift around for a while isn't as interesting as having them immediately encounter something shocking and making a scene. Making the present look more shocking than it really is is just a product of Deliberate Values Dissonance, by making the present look more shocking than it really is gives us some insight into the traveler's perspective without making them look ridiculous.
  • November 20, 2011
    Katana
    This definitely seems like it falls into another trope already! Is the specific variation of someone from the past finding future porn and flipping their shit really common enough to trope?
  • November 21, 2011
    fulltimeD
    Future Shock and focus less on porno and broaden it a bit to include general temporal cultural shock
  • November 21, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    A variation (no actual time travel but Eastern Germany was in a sort of stasis) in Goodbye Lenin - after the Berlin Wall falls, the protagonist goes to see Western Germany and instantly encounters a tv with porn on
  • November 21, 2011
    Tulling
    The Goodbye Lenin example was somewhat justified: the tv was inside an actual porn shop - plus there was an entire throng of ossis staring at it.
  • November 21, 2011
    arromdee
    Time After Time has HG Wells and Jack The Ripper taken to modern times. Jack changes the channels on a TV to show constant scenes of violence to claim that he belongs here and Wells doesn't.
  • November 21, 2011
    TrustBen
    Time After Time is also a subversion in that while Wells is surprised by Amy's sexually aggressive behavior, he's not displeased by it.
  • November 21, 2011
    PacificState
    There's an RPG named Future Shock that's exactly about this topic. Well, about pre-empting it. You imagine cultural and technological changes and roleplay their imlications out till you're comfortable with them.
  • November 21, 2011
    mtlwriterguy
    The mundane time travellers who were stuck in bomb shelters or Communist Europe actually fit the trope very well. I'll adapt it to fit them in.
  • November 21, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    • In Samurai Jack, Jack is transported into a big city in the future and the first place he goes in is a nightclub with a rave going on inside. However, Jack is more disturbed by the fact there are aliens there than anything else, so it might not count.
  • November 22, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    The porn aspect was Played For Laughs in a TV movie called The Return of Sherlock Holmes (circa 1987), with Margaret Colin as Jane Watson, a descendant of Dr. John Watson's who inherits a steampunk cryogenic contraption protecting Sherlock Holmes until there's a cure for the disease Moriarty gave him. Once cured, Holmes is the typical Fish Out Of Temporal Water; at one point he sees an "adult book store" and wants to go in (saying, "I'm an adult.") despite Jane's warning. Predictably, Holmes is shocked when he comes out again.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable