There are points in the story where only one character has the key to saving the day, they have a special power, knowledge or capability that others around him don't and as a result there is no choice but to leave the action to them.
Other times however, a hero just seems to be brought forth by sheer designation. There's a villain taking over the world. What should the civilians do? Maybe they could combine their strengths to stop him. Ridiculous, get the town's superhero to do everything. Can come to rather inane lengths when the entire cast may insist or even outright shame an unwilling hero to do their job, all while they are in a perfect position to take action themselves. After all they are called Innocent Bystanders
for a reason.
Maybe it's they believe it's the other guy's destiny
. Maybe the others are smart enough to drag some poor sucker into the problem
rather than getting their own paws dirty
, or maybe it's just An Aesop
delivered at a rather inappropriate moment. Either way if this guy doesn't do it, everyone is screwed, because no one else is gonna do it.
When used deliberately, it often counts as Hypocritical Humor
- Taken to an extreme in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls when the city of Townsville become so used to the girls taking care of everything, the local forces stop doing their jobs and civilians even start begging them to do trivial jobs around the house. This leads the girls to go on strike, leaving the city clueless as to what to do when a monster attacks (despite being completely incapasitated in electric wire and the key to defeating it actually being right in front of them).
- In one episode of The Simpsons, when Santa's Little Helper becomes a celebrity, Homer starts drown in an ocean beside him, when the dog chickens out of swimming to rescue him, the audience jeers and labels him a coward, seemingly forgetting that Homer is still drowning next to them.