Created By: Belian on June 26, 2010 Last Edited By: Belian on June 27, 2010
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OOC Is Serious Business

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Will probably launch this tomorrow. Last call for examples. Could use A Better Description There must be a good way of turning the description into a story. This trope is certainly appropriate for one., and Indexs would be apreciated.


Some characters have strong traits that they are known by. This is for when a character momentarily breaks away from their normal habits to make a point or because the plot demands it. Often causes the other characters to do a Double Take and mention why this event is Serious Business.

Some classic Archetypal Characters who might be the cause of this I need specific examples for each of these. Anyone got any?:

A Super Trope of should I make this part into an Index at launch?:

This is a trope for when a somewhat-Out of Character action is used to draw extra attention to the scene (similar to a Title Drop). It isn't Hidden Depths because it isn't telling us something about the character we didn't already know, and it's a subtrope of Out-of-Character Moment in that this is specifically the usage of an OOCM to draw attention to a scene.

Examples

  • The Dresden Files: Mac The Bartender is also The Quiet One. The seriousness of any particular book is proportional to the number of words that he says. A complete sentence or two is enough to scare Dresden. In Changes he goes on for a good sized paragraph.
  • Angel Beats!: The Ninja (who is The Quiet One) says something in the 10th episode. Everyone is shocked by this.
  • Jin in Bleach never opens his eyes. When he does, expect the fandom to react.
  • Fujin in Final Fantasy VIII, who usually speaks in one-word yells, suddenly starts to speak normally when she delivers her what-the-hell moment to Seifer.
  • At the ending of Ichiban Ushiro No Daimaou: The student council member who always says "guga", said something else than guga.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird is full of these: Scout notes the only time she ever heard Atticus raise his voice (when he's defending his parenting style to Aunt Alexandra) and the only time she ever heard him call something a sin (to kill a mockingbird). Jem decides to follow Atticus the night the mob threatens him outside the jail because Atticus took his car instead of walking as usual. Scout and Jem are shocked at Tom Robinson's trial when Atticus takes off his jacket and loosens his tie, because they've never seen him do that during the day.
  • Dwayne's big outburst in Little Miss Sunshine.
  • In the earlier Harry Potter books, moments when Hermione was in favor of breaking the rules were this.
  • Burn Notice There's an episode where Michael sends Sam to escort Madeleine to safety. Madeleine isn't hearing of it, offers Sam a beer. Sam refuses the beer, at which point Madeleine starts taking him seriously.
  • Skalman from Bamse, a Swedish comic series, almost never showed emotion, and always obeyed a strict schedule. When he stopped obeying that schedule for a bit, or snapped at his friends, you knew it was serious.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Longshot speaks just once... and it literally stuns everyone who hears him because it's so rare.
  • In the Chronicles of Narnia series, this happens in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. When the ship is attacked by a giant sea serpent, Reepicheep yells at everyone to push the serpent off the boat rather than fight it. Since Reepicheep usually fights first and asks questions later, this is unusual enough to startle the rest of the ship's crew into helping him.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • June 20, 2010
    Superior

    When She Smiles is a subtrope about the unfunny smiling.

    Maybe When She Speaks is common enough to be another independent subtrope.

  • June 20, 2010
    GuesssWho
    That one old man in The Nigger Of The Narcisus.
  • June 20, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
  • June 20, 2010
    aurora369
    Fujin in Final Fantasy VIII, who usually speaks in one-word yells, suddenly starts to speak normally when she delivers her what-the-hell moment to Seifer.
  • June 20, 2010
    AlirozTheConfused
    We need this.
  • June 20, 2010
    Belian
    @Dragon Quest Z: Out Of Character Moment is for when someone does something completely OOC for them. This is for when they do something unusually rare, usually to highlight what is going on.

    ...Put like that, this Needs A Better Title so the two tropes don't get mixed up.
  • June 20, 2010
    CodeMan38
    Precision F Strike can be a subtrope of this, when it involves a character who normally doesn't swear.
  • June 20, 2010
    Game_Fan
    When the Stepford Smiler stops smiling.
  • June 21, 2010
    AlsoFriscalating
    I almost made a YKTTW about this a while ago, as a supertrope of You Called Me X It Must Be Serious. If I'm reading this right, I don't think it Needs A Better Name, I think it Needs A Better Description. You're saying it's not an example of bad writing like Out Of Character Moment and it's not really a character undergoing a major change, it's someone momentarily breaking a longtime habit because the situation calls for it (hence Serious Business). Right?

    Anyway, if so -- there are a lot of examples in To Kill A Mockingbird. Scout notes the only time she ever heard Atticus raise his voice (when he's defending his parenting style to Aunt Alexandra) and the only time she ever heard him call something a sin (to kill a mockingbird). Jem decides to follow Atticus the night the mob threatens him outside the jail because Atticus took his car instead of walking as usual. Scout and Jem are shocked at Tom Robinson's trial when Atticus takes off his jacket and loosens his tie, because they've never seen him do that during the day. And Aunt Alexandra gets one herself at the end after Scout and Jem have been attacked by Bob Ewell; she brings Scout her overalls to change into, after spending the entire book trying to get her to wear dresses and act ladylike.

    Also:
  • June 21, 2010
    Belian
    ^Exactly. It was not easy to come up with a good name to begin with and I appreciate your support of it. :-) Also, thanks for the description and examples.

    Now to get all that into the main post...
  • June 21, 2010
    TJ
    I think this has a lot of overlap with Hidden Depths, and care must be taken to keep them separate.
  • June 21, 2010
    Belian
    ^Not really. Thanks for pointing that page out though. Gave me a couple of ideas for the description.
  • June 22, 2010
    ThePocket
    The father's eyes showing in Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs I guess counts, although they did it several times.
  • June 22, 2010
    Belian
    Bump

    Anyone got the examples I need?
  • June 22, 2010
    shimaspawn
    • The Phoenix Wright games and their spin-offs all have characters that suddenly change behaviour and appearance when you expose their lies.
  • June 22, 2010
    Belian
    As TJ said, there might be some confusion between this and Hidden Depths. The Phoenix Wright characters are more like the examples in Hidden Depths.
  • June 23, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    As I understand it, this is a trope for when a somewhat-OOC action is used to draw extra attention to the scene (ala a Title Drop). It isn't Hidden Depths because it isn't telling us something about the character we didn't already know, and it's a subtrope of Out Of Character Moment in that this is specifically the usage of an OOCM to draw attention to a scene. The Stepford Smiler example is a good one, and a Precision F Strike can be one.
  • June 23, 2010
    Belian
    ^Copy paste is my friend ;)

    Thank you for your better/more succinct description of the differences.
  • June 23, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Burn Notice--there's an episode where Michael sends Sam to escort Madeleine to safety. Madeleine isn't hearing of it, offers Sam a beer. Sam refuses the beer, at which point Madeleine starts taking him seriously.
  • June 23, 2010
    DragonQuestZ
    Oh, this is when the gravity of a situation is revealed by someone doing something uncharacteristic? I think we already have this?
  • June 23, 2010
    Farmelle
    • Skalman from Bamse, a Swedish comic series, almost never showed emotion, and always obeyed a strict schedule. When he stopped obeying that schedule for a bit, or snapped at his friends, you knew it was serious.
  • June 23, 2010
    Belian
    @Dragon: Basicaly yes. About a previous/simular trope, if you find it let me know and I will be sure to merge my examples.
  • June 23, 2010
    SquealingSandry
  • June 24, 2010
    Belian
    Going to Bump this up for now. Not going to enter the Department Of Redundancy Department so I'll just ask people to read what I have already posted.
  • June 26, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Let's not abbreviate "Out of Character"
  • June 26, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In the Chroniclesof Narnia series, this happens in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. When the ship is attacked by a giant sea serpent, Reepicheep yells at everyone to push the serpent off the boat rather than fight it. Since Reepicheep usually fights first and asks questions later, this is unusual enough to startle the rest of the ship's crew into helping him.
  • June 26, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Sub-trope of Uniqueness Value, no?
  • June 26, 2010
    AlirozTheConfused
    That's what it seems like to me.
  • June 26, 2010
    AlirozTheConfused
    I don't think that there will be that many examples. Just Launch It Already.
  • June 26, 2010
    Belian
    About Out Of Character vs OOC: I like OOC in the title because it is short and sweet. For the description, I will go ahead and change it.

    I have no idea why you think this is a sub-trope of Uniqueness Value. That is all about people/things being collected specifically because they are unique. This is all about a person's personality/actions. I do not see any relationship between the two at all.

    As I said, I will launch it tomorrow. And I have Seen It A Million Times, but can not remember the specifics.
  • June 26, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    "I have no idea why you think this is a sub-trope of Uniqueness Value. That is all about people/things being collected specifically because they are unique. This is all about a person's personality/actions. I do not see any relationship between the two at all."

    perhaps I was unclear. Uniqueness Value is about people being valued for their uniqueness in story collection is only a small part of it, this trope is about doing something to avoid Flat Characterization as in adding uniqueness and thus becoming increasingly valued in story. If you don't think it is relevant leave it out, if you don't think it is a sub trope leave it out, If you don't see the relationship leave it out.

    My words are after all only an optional inference.
  • June 27, 2010
    Farmelle
    "Alright, so OOC Is Serious Business is when--wait, what's that, Tropey?! The Big Bad is destroying all the indexes?! And the Big Good can't stop him?! And when they get to the Artifact Of Death article, they can jump out into the world and begin to use the earth as a power core until they have the power to make it blow up in an Earth Shattering Kaboom?! And he kicked you?! Good grief! I can't trope at a time like this!"

    Alright, it's...not good, sorry...just trying to...uh, submit something for a potential story of the description...maybe it could go before 'Some characters have strong traits they are known by', but of course, maybe not...sorry...
  • June 27, 2010
    Belian
    LOL! As you said: "maybe not..." It IS funny, but does not work that well. Thanks for at least trying.
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