Created By: Etheru on October 29, 2009
Troped

Complexity Addiction

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A character has come up with a ridiculously elaborate plot, that is ridiculously planned out, it can't possibly fail...

But exactly why is it so elaborately planned, you can just do something simple for a plan to come to fruition.

Why doesn't the villain just shoot them? Who knows? It seems to be the nature of idiotic villains.

Compare Idiot Plot.


Examples

  • Mephiles' plan from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) could have ended so early if he just did a few simple tasks, but he had to overblow the whole plot, making the entire plan completely useless.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • October 25, 2009
    Wacky Meets Practical
    I believe many of the killers on Monk and Psych fit this trope. Many come up with very elaborate schemes to kill the people they want dead. And although the end result is a mystery that leaves many of the cops stumped and the main detectives boggled for a few minutes, they end up being very complicated with a lot of places where things can go wrong while there are so many much simpler ways to kill a person and get away with it.
  • October 25, 2009
    ShayGuy
  • October 25, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    Basically, this is about villains whose plans resemble Rube Goldberg Machines in their unnecessary complexity?

    • The Evil Overlord List zig-zags regarding this:
      • Some vows, like Item #85, warn against complex plans:
      I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."
      • Some vows, like Item #116, encourage complex plans:
      If I capture the hero's starship, I will keep it in the landing bay with the ramp down, only a few token guards on duty and a ton of explosives set to go off as soon as it clears the blast-range.
      • Some vows, like Item #125, advise how to do complex plans properly if one really must do them:
      Should I actually decide to kill the hero in an elaborate escape-proof deathtrap room (water filling up, sand pouring down, walls converging, etc.) I will not leave him alone five to ten minutes prior to "imminent" death, but will instead (finding a vantage point or monitoring camera) stick around and enjoy watching my adversary's demise.
  • October 25, 2009
    CountCasimir
    • This seems to be the generally accepted MO for the Yendi in novels set in Dragaera.
  • October 25, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    Tzeentch, being essentially a god of Magnificent Bastards, acts almost exclusively through Xanatos Roulettes, even when a more straightforward solution might be possible.
  • October 26, 2009
    arromdee
    I don't think that evil overlord vow 116 is about complex plans. The point is not that this is a particularly efficient way to kill the hero, the point is that you shouldn't just leave the hero's ship free for him to take without any precautions. In other words, it's about having a plan at all, not about complex versus simple plans.
  • October 26, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    The phrase "a few token guards" makes it clear that the explosives are not simply a precaution in case the hero does manage to escape; if he's not posting real security, then the evil overlord wants the hero to die by stealing the ship, which is much more complex than just shooting him. Besides, there are easier ways to stop the hero from escaping in the ship, like removing the engines, that don't result in the hero dying (assuming that the evil overlord, having not shot him, really does want him alive).
  • October 26, 2009
    Earnest
  • October 26, 2009
    Shrikesnest
    Xanatos Stupidity is going to attract a lot of Xanatos Gilligan and Xanatos Sucker examples just by its name. I say we call this Gambit Addiction or something similar.
  • October 26, 2009
    Sir Psycho Sexy
  • October 26, 2009
    random surfer
    The Simpsons' "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes" (during a Prisoner parody):
    Number 2: I'll be blunt. Your web page has stumbled upon our secret plan.
    Homer: That's impossible. All my stories are bullplop. Bullplop!
    Number 2: Don't be cute. I'm referring to the flu shot expose. You see we're the ones loading them with mind-controlling additives.
    Homer: But why?
    Number 2:To drive people into a frenzy of shopping. That's why flu shots are given just before Christmas.
    Homer: Of course. It's so simple. Wait, no it's not. It's needlessly complicated.
    Number 2: Yes it is.
  • October 26, 2009
    Etheru
    Gambit Addiction sounds like a good name, but Rube Goldberg plot sounds better, as the first one has a few overtones of X-Men in it.
  • October 26, 2009
    arromdee
    I think you're overanalyzing the evil overlord vow. The point is to point out a cliche, which is "no precautions against a prisoner stealing his ship back". True, it then suggests precautions that are more complicated than necessary, but it's not really advocating complicated precautions; that's just flavor text for amusement, like the one about melting the doomsday switch into limited edition commemorative coins.
  • October 26, 2009
    ShayGuy
  • October 26, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Aizen from Bleach has a bad case of this. During the Soul Society arc, he had a very complicated to get the Mac Guffin. Then, when the complicated plan fails, he simply walks up and grabs it. Nothing was stopping him from just grabbing it in the first place.
  • October 26, 2009
    Etheru
    Complexity Addiction? That'll work.
  • October 26, 2009
    Shrikesnest
    Complexity Addiction sounds just fine.
  • October 26, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Lampshaded in the Emperors New Groove and the Spin Off series The Emperors New School. Nearly all of Yzma's plans to destroy Kuzco are ridiculously complicated. Kronk points this out at least once.
  • October 26, 2009
    Giant Space Chinchilla
  • October 26, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    Genius Proof Plan doesn't even begin to make sense as a title. That implies that a plan is so good that nobody, no matter how smart they are, can throw a Spanner In The Works. That's not even close to what this trope is about. Complexity Addiction is good.

    The Emperor's New Groove provides something that would work really well as the page quote:

    Yzma: I'll turn him into a flea, a harmless, little flea, and then I'll put that flea in a box, and then I'll put that box inside of another box, and then I'll mail that box to myself, and when it arrives, I'll smash it with a hammer! It's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, I tell you! Genius, I say! ...Or, to save on postage, I'll just poison him with this.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=c319vw1brxy01nqbtnkv42fs