Created By: Generality on April 15, 2010
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Myopic Architecture

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((Now with Rolling Updates, etc. I'd like some more examples to pad out the different genres, but I'm betting the Wiki Magic will work on this pretty fast once it's launched so I'm not waiting too long. Also accepting title suggestions.))

This door is absolutely impenetrable. It's made of 100% Indestructium, guarded by robot monkeys with crossbows, and opens only to authorised personnel who pass the DNA test, retina scan, and present a valid birth certificate. Yes, no one will ever force their way into -- did you just break the door off its hinges?

Crippling Overspecialization applied to architecture. A designer puts immense effort and resources into a structure, most often a defensive point such as a wall, door, or window, but fails to notice a large weakness in the design that makes all of this easy to circumvent. The most common flaw being that for all that the door itself is indestructible, the wall it's attached to is less so. This is especially so in Chinese and Japanese media where many walls are made out of paper. A lot of times the floor will also be vulnerable to burrowing. The door itself may not be that hard to open, especially if We Have the Keys. Often played for laughs if the way through the apparently impenetrable defense is particularly obvious or easy.

Compare Dungeon Bypass, Cutting the Knot. Contrast There Was a Door.

Examples:

Advertising
  • Inverted in a TV ad for a French reinforced door company: Our local equivalent of a SWAT team is raiding an apartment building and hits a particular door with a battering ram: This only makes a huge hole in the wall around it, with the door and its frame still standing.

Comics
  • There is a Hägar the Horrible strip where he returns from a-plundering, handing his wife a large, well-crafted castle-style lock, noting that she's been worried about people breaking into their house. She's initially overjoyed, untill she asks where he got it. "Oh, it wasn't too hard - it only took me five seconds to rip it out."
  • In a Gnasher and Gnipper strip, after the dogs knock over Dad one two many times, he buys a pair of special gnash-proof chains to keep them restrained. Fortunately for the dogs, while the chains were completely gnash-proof, the wall wasn't.

Film
  • Pirates of the Caribbean presents a lesson: don't build a jail door using half-pin hinges.
  • The Death Star. Surely no one would shoot missiles into an open chute that leads directly to the main reactor. And it wouldn't hurt to place said chute at the end of a long valley that puts any attacking fighters out of shot from the defensive guns.
  • Justified with Helms Deep in The Lord of the Rings, as the designers could not have anticipated that Saruman would use explosives, mostly because he apparently invented them just for this battle.

Literature
  • Used in The Last Continent. Iron door to the jail cell, solid stone walls... but the door actually lifts off the hinges, allowing one to simply lift the entire thing up and into the cell itself.
  • In The Bellmaker, the heroes are able to escape their prison cell by hacking the hinges (which are on the inside) off.

Live Action TV
  • On The Mentalist the Victim of the Week was killed via exposure to a deadly virus kept in a high sceurity vault accessed by retina scan - which didn't work right and would let in anybody who presented their eye for scanning.

Real Life
  • After a long and bloody siege that they had pretty well held off up to that point, Constantinople finally fell when someone left a small supply gate open, allowing the invading army to come in. Not only a fuckup on the dude who left it open's part, but the designer's as well.

Video Games
  • Often taken advantage of by Revan in Knights of the Old Republic.
  • The Big Bad of Second Sight eventually hides himself in a room behind a large pane of glass which, apparently, is immune to not only bullets but all of your various psychic powers. Too bad for him the frame is ordinary metal.
  • In the first Monkey Island game, if you let Guybrush be recaptured by the cannibals, they'll progressively beef up the security of their prison hut, eventually installing an all-steel door with a motion detector, never thinking that there might be a large hole in the hut floor.
  • Similarly, in Leisure Suit Larry 7, the door to the staff room is heavy steel and, if you get too close, about a hundred weapons emerge from the walls to point directly at your head. Security measures include testers for DNA, fingerprints, retinal scans, tongue prints, and urine analysis. But, it turns out, the latch doesn't work properly and you can get in by just pushing on it.
  • Similarly to the Pirates example above is the cell door on the pirate island in Shadow Hearts: To The New World. Natan just lifts it up and walks out.
  • One of the in-game books in ''Oblivion lampshades this as it applies to locks, saying that expensive, high-quality locks don't do a whole lot of good unless you build the entire door/chest out of similarly sturdy materials, cause otherwise, the intruder can just smash it.

Western Animation
  • Played for laughs in The Simpsons- one scene in the nuke plant involved going through several layers of increasing security to reach a control room, which was seen to also feature an ill-fitting, flapping screen door leading directly to the parking lot.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • April 13, 2010
    Wheezy
    Truth In Television - After a long and bloody siege that they had pretty well held off up to that point, Constantinople finally fell when someone left a small supply gate open, allowing the invading army to come in. Not only a fuckup on the dude who left it open's part, but the designer's as well.
  • April 14, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Just had to rephrase the last line of the lead paragraph for emphasis. Apologies that it attached my username to the YKTTW since I wasn't the one to start it.
  • April 14, 2010
    BlackDragon
    I remember a Hagar The Horrible strip where he returns from a-plundering, handing his wife a large, well-crafted castle-style lock, noting that she's been worried about people breaking into their house. She's initially overjoyed, untill she asks where he got it. "Oh, it wasn't too hard - it only took me five seconds to rip it out."
  • April 14, 2010
    VampireBuddha
    In a Gnasher and Gnipper strip, after the dogs knock over Dad one two many times, he buys a pair of special gnash-proof chains to keep them restrained. Fortunately for the dogs, while the chains were completely gnash-proof, the wall wasn't.
  • April 14, 2010
    henke37
    The larry example even had the narator mock you "Do you think that you can just push the door open?" (paraphrased). As indicated above, the answer is "yes".
  • April 14, 2010
    randomsurfer
    a la the Larry example, on The Mentalist the Victim Of The Week was killed via exposure to a deadly virus kept in a high sceurity vault accessed by retina scan - which didn't work right and would let in anybody who presented their eye for scanning.
  • April 14, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Played for laughs in The Simpsons- one scene in the nuke plant involved going through several layers of increasing security to reach a control room, which was seen to also feature an ill-fitting, flapping screen door leading directly to the parking lot.
  • April 14, 2010
    Cidolfas
    Used in The Last Continent. Iron door to the jail cell, solid stone walls... but the door actually lifts off the hinges, allowing one to simply lift the entire thing up and into the cell itself.

    Similarly (though with less pomp and circumstance) is the cell door on the pirate island in Shadow Hearts: To The New World. Natan just lifts it up and walks out.
  • April 14, 2010
    Reflextion
    One of the in-game books in Oblivion lampshades this as it applies to locks, saying that expensive, high-quality locks don't do a whole lot of good unless you build the entire door/chest out of similarly sturdy materials, cause otherwise, the intruder can just smash it.
  • April 14, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    I'd call this "Achilles Funnybone."
  • April 14, 2010
    Generality
    I don't see how the funnybone applies.
  • April 15, 2010
    Chabal2
    • In The Bellmaker, the heroes are able to escape their prison cell by hacking the hinges (which are on the inside) off.
    • Mentioned in Dungeon Bypass: upon learning that the door in front of them is a massive ancient oak door reinforced with bands of Mithril, the party elects to strip the door down to its components to sell them.
    • In one Punisher story, Frank is chasing the Big Bad inside a house, and the guy hides in a room, gun pointing at the door. Frank sees him however, and shoots him through the wall.
    • Occasionally shows up in works taking place in Japan, with those houses with walls made of paper. Often people come crashing through walls trather than the doors.
  • April 15, 2010
    Medinoc
    I just saw a TV ad for a French reinforced door company: Our local equivalent of a SWAT team is raiding an apartment building and hits a particular door with a battering ram: This only makes a huge hole in the wall around it, with the door and its frame still standing.
  • April 15, 2010
    ViktorCrowford
    The Death Star?

    Possibly also Helms Deep in Lord Of The Rings, although the designers could not have anticipated that Saruman would use explosives, mostly because he apparently invented them just for this battle.
  • April 15, 2010
    Generality
    Chabal2, what work is the Dungeon Bypass/mithril example you gave from? Also, the Punisher example doesn't sound like a case of this trope, but not knowing the case in question, I'm not sure. Was it a case where the guy thought he had an impenetrable defense but overlooked some potential area of attack?
  • April 16, 2010
    Shrikesnest
    The main gate of Redwall Abbey is large and thick, impervious to even the most dedicated of sieges. Basically, not one invading vermin horde has ever gotten through it. The tiny wicker side-gate, on the other hand, has been breached by countless invading hordes over the seasons, probably accounting for every successful invasion of the abbey.
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