Created By: rjungMarch 5, 2010
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City Of Weirdos

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Do We Have This, Needs More Examples, and Rolling Updates.

Tips for aliens in New York: Land anywhere. Central Park, anywhere. No one will care or indeed even notice....

Oh, no! Bob the Beastman has been hit with a teleportation spell, and now he's in the middle of New York City at high noon! He's going to be spotted any second now, and The Masquerade will be exposed! It's too late to hide, here come the Muggles!

As Bob cringes, the pedestrians approach... and proceed to ignore him. A couple of teens joke about his costume, while a woman in passing mutters about how there are more weirdos in the city every day. Most folks simply walk by without even a second (or first) glance. After a few seconds, Bob shrugs and looks for a subway map.

City Of Weirdos is a Comedy Trope when people in a city idly dismiss unusual happenings and odd-looking strangers as part of metropolitan life. This joke is almost always invoked in large urban centers, where the everyday bustle and diverse population justifies such reactions. Unlike a Weirdness Censor or a Fisher Kingdom, the Invisible To Normals effect doesn't require any magic or Applied Phlebotinum to work -- the jaded residents have Seen It All before, and they just don't care.

New York City, Los Angeles/Hollywood, and Tokyo are especially popular targets, but it might also happen for folks living in a City Of Adventure.

A joke-specific subtrope of Weirdness Censor. Also see Unusually Uninteresting Sight and For Halloween I Am Going As Myself.


Examples:

  • In the Quantum Leap / Beauty And The Beast crossover Fan Fic "Quantum Beast" (written by Peter David, no less), Sam leaps into Vincent's bestial body, and has to travel across New York to rescue Catherine. After refusing Al's suggestion to cling onto the top of a subway train as suicidal, Sam instead goes to the nearest station and boards a car. He is ignored by the other riders, except for a punk rocker who calls him a "freak."
  • In the second Spider Man movie, Spidey rides down an elevator with another passenger, who simply compliments his costume.
  • Real Life example: David Letterman once did a sketch where he filled a coffee shop in Times Square with 35 men in Spider-Man costumes. Crowds walking by failed to react.
  • In Mega Tokyo, invading hordes, Humongous Mecha, and Rent-A-Zillas are common in Tokyo to the point where no one is surprised any more.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • March 2, 2010
    Ryusui
    • Invoked in Ray Stevens' Haircut Song, in which the singer winds up done up in punk style by a skinhead barber and claims he was lucky his next job was in San Francisco - "those people thought I was an insurance salesman!"
    • A minor example occurs in Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, where most people are willing to accept the slightly out-of-touch Spock as a harmless stoner, even as he does weird things like jump into the whale tank...until he says some things about the whales that he shouldn't be able to know.
  • March 2, 2010
    MatthewTheRaven
    Can I just mention that I saw a man in a Spiderman suit in a Manhattan subway terminal last Saturday and thought nothing of it. This trope is truth.
  • March 2, 2010
    motorival
    In Artemis Fowl it is mentioned several times that faeries often go to Disney Land on vacation, to no reaction from the human occupants.
  • March 2, 2010
    karstovich
    For Halloween I Am Going As Myself is a Sub Trope, strictly interpreted.
  • March 3, 2010
    randomsurfer
    • In the first or second ep of Heroes Hiro teleports himself to NYC, and nobody around notices the man who appeared out of thin air.
    • Letterman has done the "How many guys in X cosutmes can fit in a Y?" bit several times, trying to get the proprietors to throw them out. The only time they succeeded was "How many guys in Easter Bunny costumes can fit in an H&R Block?" (during Easter/tax time) because it was disruptive to their business.
  • March 3, 2010
    remakesformoney
    Friday The Thirteenth Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan
  • March 3, 2010
    RegShoe
    Men In Black 2 had a scene where J can't clear a subway car he just crashed into through the end window because of this trope. To be fair they do get moving when a giant worm starts eating the car...
  • March 3, 2010
    TBTabby
    In Freakazoid, the creepy, giggling Weylon Jeepers and Vorn the Unspeakable are able to blend in perfectly in Venice Beach.

    Freakazoid: A couple of weirdos like Jeepers and Vorn should be pretty easy to spot around here.
    Cosgrove: I don't think so.
    (shot of the various hippies and weirdos living in Venice Beach)
    Freakazoid: Good point. Am I overdressed?
  • March 3, 2010
    lalalei2001

    I recall a Flash comic book where he was transported into 'our' universe, but no one really noticed except for a Fan Boy and his mom.
  • March 3, 2010
    rjung
    • Happens regularly in The Adventures Of Dr Mc Ninja. The residents of Cumberland, Maryland don't particularly care when the mayor installs a citywide anti-zombie system, and a rampaging Paul Bunyan is treated by the police as ordinary policework, not worthy of exceptional notice.
    • Occasionally invoked in various Marvel Comics. While most folks will panic appropriately when a superhuman battle breaks out nearby, sometimes a jaded resident ignores the ruckus, or yells at the heroes to move their Quinjet and stop blocking the street.
  • March 4, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Truth in Television: anything not obviously threatening will be recognised as a publicity stunt of some kind. Six-limbed purple aliens that communicate via lights pulsing on their heads could stroll around in your average First World Western city if they remembered to pack a couple of video cameras.
  • March 4, 2010
    johnnye
    I don't see the contrast - Weirdness Censor doesn't (necessarily) "require any magic or applied phlebotinum to work".
  • March 4, 2010
    boldingd
    In Peter is the Wolf, Jean, A werewolf, is cought out in public partially transformed. Passers-by just think she's a furry and ignore her.
  • March 4, 2010
    rjung
    @johnnye: City Of Weirdos is a trope about the joke where people in a city dismiss weird and unusual stuff happening because they believe it's just another example of all the weirdos/creeps/nuts in the city. When Bob the Beastman gets ignored by the New Yorkers, it's not because he's wearing a medallion of disguise, it's because they all just figure he's some nutjob from Jersey.

    I think it can be classified as a gag-specific subtrope of Weirdness Censor.
  • March 4, 2010
    Game_Fan
    In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy aliens visiting Earth are advised to land in New York as it requires little to no disguise in order to fit in.
  • March 5, 2010
    arromdee
    There may be two versions of this. One is where the weird thing is actually plausible as a publicity stunt or other weird but not extranormal thing--Spiderman costumes, aliens that look like people in costumes.

    Another is where it's not, and the joke implies that the city has an exaggerated idea of normality compared to the real world--kaiju in Megatokyo, teleporting Hiro, rampaging Paul Bunyan.
  • March 8, 2010
    rjung
    Last call for examples, comments, and trivia before launch.
  • March 8, 2010
    washington213
    Jumper. During the jemper duel, nobody really notices the two men that appeared out of nowehere, and are wrestling in the street. Bit of Truth In Television there, according to the commentary they really did film on location in New York with the actos wrestling in a busy street. Passerbys just ignore them.
  • March 9, 2010
    LeeM
    Averted in the film Who, where an agent returns from behind the Iron Curtain with his face in a grotesque mask following an accident - or is it an impostor? Anyway, the filmmakers took the actor onto the street (forget which city) and filmed genuine startled reactions of passersby to his mask.
  • March 9, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In Stravaganza, Rodolfo (and other Stravagante) travel to 21st century London to drop off talismans and are regarded as nutjobs in period costume, rather than being noticed for being out of place.
  • March 9, 2010
    Lullabee
    In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel Unnatural History, San Francisco is invaded by dragons, unicorns, strange men in fezzes, etc. No one thinks much of it, even when Lombard Street goes straight. (No, you're thinking of the Castro, Lombard Street is this one.)

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