Created By: bulmabriefs144 on June 23, 2012 Last Edited By: Tuckerscreator on December 9, 2012
Troped

Screw the Rules It's the Apocalypse

Breaking the rules because it's The End Of The World As We Know It.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Up for Grabs (be sure to split examples between this and Apocalypse Anarchy)

Bolin: ...but how are we gonna pay for all these parking tickets?
Mako: (after burning tickets) Relax, the city's under attack. The police have more important things to worry about.
Legend Of Korra, "Turning the Tides."

The main characters are no anti-heroes or villain antagonists, but sometimes they simply can't be bothered to follow the rules. Why? Well, is it really that important that you stop at every stoplight and follow the speed limit, if in ten minutes if you don't get there in time, some evil demon will eat up the universe?

In cases of The World Is Always Doomed, expect the local law enforcement to be unsympathetic to this point of view, and for the heroes to heavily abuse this to do things that they couldn't ordinarily do.

This is for saving the world by any means necessary. For when the heroes (or side characters) are breaking the rules to take advantage of a lapse in law due to emergency, see Apocalypse Breakdown instead.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Cooking Master Boy: Mao and the others impersonate a deity and burn a palace down. To be fair, the ruler in question was taking money from the citizens, and creating a health emergency, by keeping them malnourished on abalone soup.
Comics
  • In Chew this drives the plot of the book "Flambe" in which strange writing made of fire appears in the sky. Its up to Tony to stop people doing this.
Film Live-Action TV
  • In the eighth season comics for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy reasons thusly. She has hundreds of slayers fighting evil as a global organization. She needs funding. She robs a bank.
  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine: In the episode 'In the Pale Moonlight,' Benjamin Sisko lies, bribes criminals, covers up the crimes of other criminals, and was an accessory to murder in order to bring the Romulans into the Dominion War on the side of the Federation. He says 'I can live with it' because the Federation was losing and their way of life was in danger of being destroyed.
    • Another episode is named 'Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges,' the Roman term meaning 'in times of war the law falls silent.' In it the Federation again uses morally dubious means to ensure continued Romulan support for the war effort, including the framing of an innocent woman.
  • Dean and especially Sam Winchester from Supernatural eventually adopt this philosophy at times due to increasingly escalating circumstances. At one point in season 4, Sam even explains to Dean that the normal rules don't necessarily apply to them, because they are not normal, and that Dean had better get used to that if they are going to do what is needed to stop the coming apocalypse. Somewhat ironic since Sam started out being the one who usually complained the most about doing iffy things.
Literature
  • Harry Potter is no stranger to breaking the school's rules, thanks to having some kind of terrible danger strike the castle every year.
  • Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus! is all about thwarting the eschatalogical intentions of the bad guys. If a hundred thousand people need to have their minds enhanced by being given an LSD trip without their knowledge or permission, then if the goal is to avert the end of the world, so be it... and (Bilingual Bonus) the bad guys even have the motto Der Zweck heiligt die Mittel. At one point there is a submarine battle in the ruins of Atlantis, where the nearest thing to a good guy, Hagbard Celine, has to reluctantly set aside his pacifism and sink the would be world-enders' submarine craft, called Der Zweck and Die Mittel
  • This appears as a minor bit of world-building in Weis and Hickman's Starshield novels. Essentially, physics isn't the same everywhere; here's it's Newtonian, here Aristotelian, while over there it's a kind of magic that uses demons, but over there it's incantations. The borders for the different physics aren't fixed, and whenever one moves over a populated system, one of two things happens. Either they don't already know about it and treat it as an apocalyptic event and societies collapse, or they do know about it, the authorities prepare, and it's treated as a minor hiccup, like changing from driving on the left to the right (though teenagers do try new kinds of vandalism).
Western Animation Web Original Real Life
  • U.S. criminal law has the doctrine of Necessity. If a defendant can show that it was necessary to break the law in order to prevent some greater harm from occurring they can be found not guilty for that reason. This only applies if the defendant (a) had no reasonable alternative (b) ceased committing the illegal act as soon as it was no longer necessary and (c) wasn't responsible for the dangerous situation in the first place. More at The Other Wiki's article on Necessity.

Community Feedback Replies: 74
  • June 23, 2012
    surgoshan
  • June 24, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
  • June 24, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • Harry Potter is no stranger to breaking the school's rules, thanks to having some kind of terrible danger strike the castle every year.
      Harry: (After Hermione argues that breaking into the third floor will cost them House points.) SO WHAT? Don't you understand? If Snape gets hold of the stone, Voldemort's coming back! Haven't you heard what it was like when he was trying to take over? There won't be any Hogwarts to get expelled from! He'll flatten it, or turn it into a school for the Dark Arts! Losing points doesn't matter anymore, can't you see? D'you think he'll leave you and your families alone if Gryffindor wins the house cup?
  • June 25, 2012
    Routerie
    Name currently means that it's okay to break the rules when necessary to bring about the apocalypse.
  • June 25, 2012
    theweirdKiddokun
    How about "It's Okay, The World Is Ending".
  • June 25, 2012
    DarkConfidant
    ^ That's dangerously close to a stock phrase.

    Perhaps: Rules Don't Matter During the Apocalypse.
  • June 25, 2012
    theweirdKiddokun
    ^ As long as the point is a made in the title, it is fine. Those I like your title better. I'm voting for you.
  • June 27, 2012
    MorganWick
    Screw The Rules Its The Apocalypse? (runs)

    (Or was that the original title?)
  • June 27, 2012
    Diask

  • June 27, 2012
    Omeganian
    The Justice League pilot had a case of two people stealing a TV set during an alien invasion.
  • June 28, 2012
    Arivne
    Real Life
    • U.S. criminal law has the doctrine of Necessity. If a defendant can show that it was necessary to break the law in order to prevent some greater harm from occurring they can be found not guilty for that reason. This only applies if the defendant (a) had no reasonable alternative (b) ceased committing the illegal act as soon as it was no longer necessary and (c) wasn't responsible for the dangerous situation in the first place. More at The Other Wiki's article on Necessity.
  • June 28, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    It was Screw The Rules Its An Emergency.

    I figured it was catchy, and not another Screw The Rules cliche (Tropes Are Not Cliche, remember). It's better this way.

    I'm voting for the first poster. I had no problems understanding what it meant. It's about doing anything because it's the end of the world, not to bring about the end of the world. Also, I don't feel like changing it a bunch of times.
  • June 28, 2012
    Alvin
    I hope this is relevant, but

    It's about doing anything because it's the end of the world, not to bring about the end of the world.

    helped me; I thought that was what this was about, then wasn't sure. But don't most stories set in the end of the world situations have this and have to have this? Survivors just take things, declare themselves married to appropriate mates, etc. because noone else owns things, can perform marriages, etc.? Maybe this is related to Screw The Rules I Make Them? (checked, guess it isn't)

  • June 28, 2012
    elwoz
    Web Original: in Hitherby Dragons' mashup "Ragnarok" (with the Superfriends!), Robin explicitly discards his ethical code because the world is ending.
  • June 29, 2012
    planswalker
    I'd recommend changing the name to "Apocalypse Justifies the Means". Essentially the same but rolls off the tongue better.
  • June 29, 2012
    Kelnius
    The Cracked Article belongs in a 'Web Original' not 'Comics', we're talking Cracked.com here Otherwise, this seems legitimate to me
  • June 29, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Sorry, I remember back when there was Cracked magazine.

    planswlaker, it's a joke on "End Justifies the Means."
  • June 29, 2012
    planswalker
    I get that, but it comes off to me as very clumsy and awkward to say.
  • July 2, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Bump. Any other examples?
  • July 2, 2012
    Routerie
    If we must use a snowclone, call this Screw The Rules Its The Apocalypse, because that's what this is. This isn't about dubious means aiming to bring about the apocalypse.
  • July 2, 2012
    Damr1990
    Noble Shoplifter would be a subtrope of this
  • July 2, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    • Dean and especially Sam Winchester from Supernatural eventually adopt this philosophy at times due to increasingly escalating circumstances. At one point in season 4, Sam even explains to Dean that the normal rules don't necessarily apply to them, because they are not normal, and that Dean had better get used to that if they are going to do what is needed to stop the coming apocalypse. Somewhat ironic since Sam started out being the one who usually complained the most about doing iffy things.
  • July 2, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    • In the eighth season comics for Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Buffy reasons thusly. She has hundreds of slayers fighting evil as a global organization. She needs funding. She robs a bank.
  • July 2, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Literature:Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus! is all about thwarting the eschatalogical intentions of the bad guys. (Eschatology: "bringing about the End of the world") If a hundred thousand people need to have their minds enhanced by being given an LSD trip without their knowledge or permission, then if the goal is to avert the end of the world, so be it... and (Bilingual Bonus) the bad guys even have the motto Der Zweck heiligt die Mittel. At one point there is a submarine battle in the ruins of Atlantis, where the nearest thing to a good guy, Hagbard Celine, has to reluctantly set aside his pacifism and sink the would be world-enders' submarine craft, called Der Zweck and Die Mittel
  • July 2, 2012
    MusikMaestro
    How about Amoral Apoccalyptical Activity? Simply because it rolls right off the tongue.
  • July 3, 2012
    planswalker
    seriously, this snowclone's name is ambiguous. It needs to be fixed.
  • July 3, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Yea, I know.
  • July 3, 2012
    MusikMaestro
    Are we really going to keep running "screw the rules" into the ground?
  • July 3, 2012
    fulltimeD
  • July 3, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    I wouldn't recommend the "Screw The Rules" name. Some might mistake the title for people deciding to throw all the rules to the wind and start mass murdering, stealing, etc, because they figure everyone's just going to die now. But this trope is about saving the world justifying the means.
  • July 3, 2012
    planswalker
    agreed. STR is very overdone, and the name is misleading.

    Aplocalypse Justifies The Means is still my vote.
  • July 4, 2012
    NightNymph
    Discretion Exemption on Account of Approaching Apocalypse or Discretion Optional Due to Approaching Apocalypse? Or maybe just Averting The Apocalypse Exemption Rule.
  • July 4, 2012
    fulltimeD
    I think any play on "The Ends Justify the Means" is going to be very confusing because it implies a different trope, as has already been discussed here. Witty, sure, but not clear or concise.
  • July 4, 2012
    surgoshan
    If we're looking for concision, perhaps just Apocolalypse Exemption or Apocalypse Excuse.
  • July 4, 2012
    AToastyStrudel
    The Fallout series of games is full of this. It is possible to steal everything not nailed down (and even some stuff that is) and have perfect glittering karma and reputation. See Kleptomaniac Hero
  • July 4, 2012
    FlyingDyingMan
    In http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Chew this drives the plot of the book "Flambe" in which strange writing made of fire appears in the sky. Its up to Tony to stop people doing this.
  • July 4, 2012
    uncannybeetle
    Star Trek Deep Space Nine: In the episode 'In the Pale Moonlight,' Benjamin Sisko lies, bribes criminals, covers up the crimes of other criminals, and was an accessory to murder in order to bring the Romulans into the Dominion War on the side of the Federation. He says 'I can live with it' because the Federation was losing and their way of life was in danger of being destroyed.

    Another episode is named 'Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges,' the Roman term meaning 'in times of war the law falls silent.' In it the Federation again uses morally dubious means to ensure continued Romulan support for the war effort, including the framing of an innocent woman.
  • July 4, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    • This appears as a minor bit of world-building in Weis and Hickman's Starshield novels. Essentially, physics isn't the same everywhere; here's it's Newtonian, here Aristotelian, while over there it's a kind of magic that uses demons, but over there it's incantations. The borders for the different physics aren't fixed, and whenever one moves over a populated system, one of two things happens. Either they don't already know about it and treat it as an apocalyptic event and societies collapse, or they do know about it, the authorities prepare, and it's treated as a minor hiccup, like changing from driving on the left to the right (though teenagers do try new kinds of vandalism).
  • July 4, 2012
    planswalker
    @surgoshan: Apocalypse Excuse could work.
  • July 4, 2012
    polarbear2217
    "On The Beach", they stop using money and just take things from stores when the radiation is about to hit them

    "the dead and the gone", they start stealing from the dead in broad daylight to get food.
  • July 4, 2012
    Routerie
    Is this about abandoning the rules to prevent the apocalypse ("Screw the rules, it's an emergency!") or abandoning the rules because no one cares during the apocalypse (Anarchy)?
  • July 4, 2012
    DrRadon
    There needs to be a differentiation between the heroes doing something questionable but the ends justify the means, and just plain looting. Is this action for the greater good? or is the character simply being immoral in an apocalypse scenario? It seems like there's two tropes here "Post-crisis looting" and "Do what's right, not what's legal."
  • July 4, 2012
    NightNymph
    ^ I agree. That's why even though it was long I suggested "Averting the Apocalypse Exemption Rule" (though the rule part could go), because I thought the "averting" part, though longer, was important to distinguish this from the "it's the apocalypse, so who cares if I steal, behave immorally, etc." philosophy which this potential trope is not.

    So yeah, basically I agree with you.
  • July 4, 2012
    Arivne
    The first paragraph in the description says "...is it really that important that you stop at every stoplight and follow the speed limit, if in ten minutes if you don't get there in time, some evil demon will eat up the universe?"

    So the original meaning of this trope was "It's justified to break the rules in order to prevent the Apocalypse", but some tropers went with the title and Laconic which indicated the the other meaning, i.e. "It's the Apocalypse, so you can break any rules you want."

    Note that both of these are valid tropes, they're just not the same trope.
  • July 5, 2012
    planswalker
    This trope is about the former kind. We should purge the ones of the second type, fix the laconic, and encourage someone to form a YKTTW for the other trope.
  • July 5, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    I don't believe there's any distinction (largely also because it'll be a pain in the bum to filter out what's what type).

    When an emergency is going on, you can break any rules that you want in order to carry out what you need to (similar to The Unfettered) or you can use it as an opportunity to do something of a higher morality than the laws themselves (similar to a vigilante). But since the difference as any police officer will point out, is largely in your own mind since these "higher morals" are still fundamentally breaking the law, what this trope is really about is exploiting an emergency, to do... well, anything, good or bad.

    Have we decided on a name? I'm waiting on a consensus.
  • July 5, 2012
    Xtifr
    I think there is a distinction between breaking rules to prevent the apocalypse, and breaking rules because the apocalypse is about to make them irrelevant. In other words, nuking LA because it'll prevent the Great Old Ones from breaking through and eating the world would be this trope, but going on a rampage of riot, rape and destruction because a giant asteroid is about to hit the Earth would not.
  • July 6, 2012
    NightNymph
    ^I agree, because even though authorities might not see it that way, the motives are entirely different, and from what I've seen so far, (although I'm fairly new and so could be wrong) motive seems to play a big role in many of these tropes on tvTropes, so much so that there are descriptions of different types of anti-villians, heroes, villians, etc. covered by these motivations in the tropes.

    It is your trope, blumabriefs144, so I hate to disagree, but even with your first sentence two posts above, in both examples a moral reason is brought into it. I don't think that this fits with the "exploiting an emergency" part later on, because in that case actually a lack of or at least an ignoring of morality is involved, not "carry(ing) out what you need to" or "do(ing) something of a higher morality."

    As for the name, the "Screw the rules, it's the apocalypse" would fit fine for the second type - the taking advantage type, but, in my opinion, it is not descriptive enough for the flavor of your first title "Screw the rules, it's an emergency" which implies the type 1 variety: that rules are ONLY being broken due to a necessity/emergency situation and not for personal gain or gratification at the expense of others. For that first type, I still prefer my Averting the Apocalypse Exemption (with or without the addition of "Rule").
  • July 7, 2012
    surgoshan
    I'm going to go ahead and start another trope. Apocalypse Breakdown, for when society falls apart at the end of days.
  • July 8, 2012
    planswalker
    I'm in favor of us not creating another Screw The Rules Snow Clone.
  • July 9, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    It wasn't so much a snowclone, except for the naming system. Think of a better one guys. I find it insulting too, since I didn't even propose the title except as an abstract, lacking a better one, and it's a heck of a lot different from others in comparison to some The Same But Different garbage that floods YKTTW. Under-Age Casting is Playing Gertrude for instance.

    The distinction is in your head. The very first example used was burning parking tickets, which was incidental and not directly involved with saving the world. By the same token, one could very well have some reason (or excuse) for doing just about anything that conceivably would directly help, or it could be an incidental. If we split this into two tropes, we wind up running into The Same But Different which is way overdone already, not to mention most people suggesting examples would be hard pressed to figure out which it was in what.

    Let's say your rampage and rape example was the case. What if you said it was to remove unwanted elements (big buildings blocking routes of escape, therefore burn them down) and then rape was do an Adam And Eve Plot, hoping some people would survive the comet. It's Insane Troll Logic, but the idea still holds that anyone can come up with any reason for anything.

    If we really wanna fix this by splitting, I propose doing one of those Type A/Type B partitions within a single trope making the distinction between something that is directly involved in the world's salvation, and incidental lawbreaking during a crisis. It's another trope entirely if someone besides the main cast does it, however.
  • July 10, 2012
    planswalker
    I'm cool with a partition. Sounds like a good fix to me. That name, though... we need a better one.
  • July 10, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Yes, definitely. Could I offer this Up For Grabs? There seems to be no problem with getting examples, but I'd rather someone more experienced try the partition thing (I'm sure I'd goof up and put stuff in the wrong section).
  • July 10, 2012
    tyrekecorrea
    It sounds like screw the war, we're partying.
  • July 10, 2012
    zarpaulus
  • July 10, 2012
    Nasrudith
    If the apocalypse counter is 70 or higher then the earth goddess Kilmorph in Fall From Heaven is willing animate a mithril golem built by her followers (it is impossible for mortals to do so), resulting in a giant golem with a base strength higher than every dragon.
  • July 10, 2012
    planswalker
    @^^^ you can. Put the Wiki Word Up For Grabs in the top of the description, as well as adding the tag.
  • July 10, 2012
    TheChach
    Western Animation: Family Guy. Peter goes to the zoo and takes a lion and shouts the N-word in a black neighborhood.
  • July 22, 2012
    planswalker
    ^ you need to explain HOW your example relates to saving the world. WHY does Peter doing that help save the world from apocalypse? For Mr Griffin, that sounds more like his typical Tuesday afternoon entertainment than anything saving-the-world related.
  • July 23, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^I think that's supposed to be in the other ykttw, Apocalypse Breakdown.
  • July 23, 2012
    captainsandwich
    So is this when any normally lawful person disregards rules do to urgency?
  • August 9, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    We're getting too many of these. I see Screw The Rules Its The Apocalypse, Apocalypse Breakdown, and Apocalypse Anarchy. This is a mess. Could someone help organize these, and help them properly get published, moving the appropriate ones in other sections and such?
  • August 9, 2012
    surgoshan
  • August 10, 2012
    Unknown Troper
  • August 10, 2012
    LOAD
    The title makes it sound like, since the world is ending, everyone starts breaking the rules for the hell of it because, why not?
  • August 10, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    That's Apocalypse Anarchy. This is about forgetting the rules, because more important things, like saving the world are there.
  • August 27, 2012
    LOAD
    ^ I know, but the title may confuse people.
  • August 28, 2012
    Kinitawowi
    Godzilla Threshold seems related.
  • August 28, 2012
    Medinoc
    If I understand correctly, this YKTTW needs a name that separates it more from Apocalypse Anarchy.

    What about Screw The Rules Im Saving The World?
  • November 30, 2012
    Prfnoff
  • November 30, 2012
    StarSword
    ^^That works.
  • December 9, 2012
    MorganWick
    Bump to get more opinions on ^^^ before launching.
  • December 9, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    Extreme cases are Godzilla Threshold
  • December 9, 2012
    justanid
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=icmeaqhsb76fcbc7p97fdtxe