Created By: JackButler on February 20, 2010
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When It Rains It Pours

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When it rains in media, it often never seems to restrict itself to a light sprinkling or a drizzle. On the contrary, if it rains at all, it rains in buckets. This trope is when A Storm Is Coming, and when it gets here, it immediately opens up with a torrential downpour (sometimes prefaced with Dramatic Thunder). It never starts with a light rainfall that grows into a larger storm. When it rains, it pours.

The reason for this, of course, is that heavy rain is easier to pick up on camera than the usual light sprinkling seen in nature, thus directors and producers will choose to intentionally drench their performers for dramatic effect. Most such scenes are created using a sprinkler frame suspended over the scene, operated by a worker with a hose. In such cases the wide shots tend to have weather that looks very clement; in close-up, cue the downpour, with lots of shots of the performer's soaking wet hair and clothing.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • In Sin City, it generally only rains when a major plot point comes to the surface, like Marv realizing some crucial facts about Goldie and her reason for coming to him, or Dwight and the Girls of Old Town finding out that the abusive scumbag they just killed is not only a cop, but is a decorated hero.
  • Watchmen: Probably because a light rain just doesn't fit the gritty, depressing feel of the story.

Film
  • In The Matrix, the two times it rains, it rains in buckets.
  • In the American-produced version of Godzilla, every time it rains, it rains like this.
  • The Lord of the Rings films feature heavy rain at Bree and Helm's Deep, and a blizzard in the pass of Caradhras. Otherwise, there is no precipitation.
  • The last time it rained as hard as it does in The Crow, Noah built himself a boat.
  • Visually lampshaded in The Truman Show when it suddenly comes bucketing down on cue during a sad moment. Truman moves a few steps and... it is perfectly dry. Then the streams of heavy rain literally moves over to pour on him.
  • Forrest Gump: In a letter to Jenny, Forrest goes on at length about the Vietnamese monsoon season. All during Tom Hanks' narration, we see the titular character coming very close to drowning in the torrential downpour.
  • In Poltergeist, the rain went from zero to sixty in seconds.

Live-Action TV
  • A 1989 Cosby Show Thanksgiving episode used this to set up a series of gags where Cliff has to go back and forth (in said downpour) to pick up items for the holiday dinner.

Video Games
  • The Legend of Zelda Occarina Of Time has a lot of these.
  • Pokemon: There are certain areas in the game where it always rains, and it rains like this. Aside from these areas, there is no rain in the game.
    • There is even a Pokemon with the special ability Drizzle. It does not make a drizzle. It makes freaking floods happen.

Western Animation


Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • August 3, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    I suspect this has something to do with heavy rain being harder to pick up on camera.
  • August 3, 2009
    Jallen
    When ever it rained in the Hollywood Godzilla it would be this.

  • August 3, 2009
    Chaotic Dreams
    The Legend Of Zelda games had a lot of this. Ocarina Of Time comes to mind.
  • August 4, 2009
    random surfer
    The title song in Singing In The Rain
  • August 4, 2009
    Tacitus
    A jug!
    • The Lord Of The Rings movies. Heavy rain at Bree and Helm's Deep, and a monster blizzard on the Misty Mountains, but otherwise there's no precipitation.
  • August 4, 2009
    Ryusui
    Just When It Rains It Pours will do.
  • August 4, 2009
    Saintheart
    Contrast with Redemption In The Rain, which generally utilises a downpour for maximum dramatic effect.
  • August 5, 2009
    Arivne
  • August 5, 2009
    SevenMass
    Hmm, "When It Rains It Pours." is actually a saying that is sometimes said by people in RL. Though I don't know where it comes from, why it is said, or what it is suppose to mean. (I wouldn't mind someone explaining it)
  • August 5, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Trufax: drizzle isn't picked up well on camera at all, and often scenes shot in rain will be artifically created with some dudes standing just off-camera with a hose. Sports events are good examples - on a wide shot the weather may look perfectly clement, but a close up on a player will show their clothes and hair are soaked from an imperceptible drizzle.

    Seven Mass: it means when bad things don't happen just a few at a time, instead you get all your bad luck at once.
  • August 5, 2009
    random surfer
    @Seven Mass: it's the logo and motto of Morton Salt; "when it rains, it pours" means that even when it's raining the salt still comes out of the package, not clump up (unlike other prepackaged salts of the time [1911]). People use it metoaphorically to mean what UT 62 says; although I've also heard it in relation to good things happening.
  • August 5, 2009
    halfmillennium
    • Am I right in saying Grand Theft Auto averts this, even making it easier to drive through light rain?
  • August 5, 2009
    Market43Fan
    A 1989 Cosby Show Thanksgiving episode used this to set up a series of gags where Cliff has to go back and forth (in said downpour) to pick up items for the Thanksgiving dinner.
  • August 6, 2009
    NigeriaLisa
    Some of the Pokemon games have this.
  • August 6, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    It doesn't rain often in Sin City, and the light drizzles tend to evaporate before the drops hit the pavement due to it being so damned hot. But every once in a while, a real rain comes down in the city. In the comic series, it's usually when a major plot point comes to the surface, like Marv realizing some crucial facts about Goldie and her reasons for coming to him, or like Dwight and the Girls of Old Town finding out that the abusive scumbag that they just killed was not only a cop, but a hero cop.
  • August 6, 2009
    Roihu
    I think a better title for this trope would be When It Rains It Pours, as it's already used commonly in real life, albeit to a more metaphorical sense.
    • In Pokemon, when it rains, it pours. There are certain areas in the game where it will always rain (or it will usually rain). Aside from these areas, no other areas will rain.
      • There's even a Pokemon with the Special Ability Drizzle. Can you guess what it does? No. It does not make it drizzle. It makes freaking floods happen.
  • August 7, 2009
    archieanderson
    Troper Tales: Those of you who play tabletop RPG's will probably know that you never have weather in RPG's unless it's somehow significant.
  • August 7, 2009
    Sackett
    I think the problem is that this will be confused with the more common usage as a metaphor When It Rains It Pours - in other words, if something bad happens a lot of bad things all happen at once.
  • August 7, 2009
    Unknown Troper
  • August 7, 2009
    SevenMass
    I post to thank everyone who bothered to explain.
  • February 16, 2010
    JackButler
    In The Crow, both times it rains, it rains buckets.
  • February 17, 2010
    Camacan
    How about cases where it's faked in-world?

    Film
    • Lampshaded in The Truman Show when it suddenly comes bucketing down of cue during a sad moment. Truman moves a few steps and ... it's dry. Then the stream of heavy rain moves over to him.
  • February 17, 2010
    JackButler
    In a letter to Jenny, Forrest Gump goes on at length about the Vietnamese monsoon. All during Tom Hanks' narration, we see the titular character slowly drowning in the torrential downpour.
  • February 19, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • My Life As A Teenage Robot: Jenny rusts in the pouring rain in one scene, but in another scene it's drizzly and she's already busted up so badly rust wouldn't make a difference.
    • Phineas And Ferb:
      Candace: Oh, look. The world's first bad hair day.
    • Powerpuff Girls: has an entire episode spent inside because it's raining. Even Mojo Jojo doesn't want to go out and make mayhem because it's raining.

    • Poltergeist had several thunderstorms.
    • Avatar The Last Airbender: several examples. All pouring rain
      • The Storm was pretty near hurricane level, so Justified Trope there.
      • The Fortuneteller - the rain was used to make fun of Sokka. Katara could've used waterbending on the rain but she and Aang hung out under an umbrella while Sokka got soaked.
      • The Southern Raiders - since it was Katara's Day In The Limelight episode, it poured rain so we could see just how awesome a waterbender she was (which we'd had clues of every time she lost her temper before this).
  • February 20, 2010
    LeeM
    Another LotR movie example: in the extended Two Towers it's raining heavily when Eomer finds the dying Theodred after the Uruks' attack.
  • February 20, 2010
    randomsurfer
    @Amazingly Enough (1st reply): there's also the factor that 2D film makes rain look heavier than it really is. Watch a baseball game during a light sprinkle on TV; you'll see it looks like a downpour.
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